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Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012 Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Republics of letters: literary communities in Australia is the first book to explore the notion of literary community or literary sociability in relation to Australian literature. It brings together twenty-four scholars from a range of disciplines - literature, history, cultural and women's studies, creative writing and digital humanities - to address some of the key questions about Australian literary communities: how they form, how they change and develop, and how they operate within wider social and cultural contexts, both within Australia and internationally.' (Publisher's blurb)

Contents

* Contents derived from the Sydney, New South Wales,:Sydney University Press , 2012 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
The 'Federation of Literary Sympathy' : The Australasian Home Reading Union, Kylie Mirmohamadi , single work criticism
'This chapter examines the AHRU [The Australasian Home Reading Union], and especially the language that was used to represent it and promulgate its message of directed home reading, in the light of this book's emphasis on collective reading experiences in Australia.' (17)
(p. 17-48)
Pacifying Brisbane : The Muses' Magazine and the 1920s, Patrick Buckridge , single work criticism
'Patrick Buckridge reveals the extraordinary number of literary and cultural societies that flourished in Brisbane in the 1920s, contributing to what he describes as 'the active creation of a liberal polity' during the otherwise turbulent interwar period. Despite this apparently local focus, many, indeed most, of these societies, as their names indicate, were affiliated with wider forms of imagined community : L'Alliance Francaise, the Brisbane Shakespeare Society, Der Brisbane Goeth Bund.' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xiii)
(p. 39-51)
Communities of Readers : Australian Reading History and Library Loan Records, Julieanne Lamond , single work criticism
'Recent accounts of Australian literary studies that have privileged book history, or empirical or digital approaches to the discipline, imply a shift of emphasis away from the text itself towards its reception. Usually implicit in such accounts is the idea that the reader is a valid focus for scholarly attention in thinking about 'Australian literature' we are applying the national descriptor not just to the books we study, but to their readers. We are thinking, in William St Clair's terms, of 'the reading nation' rather than the nation's writers. What might it mean to think of Australia as a nation of readers, or of readerships as forms of local or national community in Australia?' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction 27)
(p. 45)
Books and Debate About the Australian Government's Policies Towards Asylum Seekers, Ann Shead , single work criticism
'The power of book publishing on the wider Australian polity in the twenty-first century is the subject of Jan Zwar's chapter. She uses 'empirical mapping' - data from Nielsen BookScan, Factiva and parliamentary records - to examine the impact of books on the asylum-seeker debate of the 2000s. Patterns of reviews, media mentions, academic citations and references in parliament can indicate in what ways books, and those who write and publish them, remain 'actively part of the democratic process.'' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xiii-xvi)
(p. 53-68)
Scenes of Reading : Is Australian Literature a World Literature?, Robert Dixon , single work criticism
'Robert Dixon explores how Australian literature can negotiate between provincial, national and world literary space. At what appears to be a lime of unprecedented internationalisation, can Australian literature be considered a world literature, or does it remain a relatively minor national literature embedded uncertainly in world literary space?' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xiv)
(p. 71-83)
Modernising Anglocentrism : Desiderata and Literary Time, David Carter , single work criticism
'In his case study of Desiderata, a literary journal published in Adelaide from 1929 to 1939, David Carter studies the cross currents of literary modernism's reception among elite and middlebrow circles in this provincial city. On the basis of fresh archival research, he proposes an elegant model of the relations between local and international literary space, extending from Anglocentrism at one end to provincialism at the other, reflecting Casanova's distinction between national and international orientations. But in an innovative turn that resists and complicates her often hard binaries, he suggests that we can we can distinguish provincial and modernising forms of cultural identification at both ends of the spectrum...' (From Introduction p. xv)
(p. 85-98)
Jindy Modernist : The Jindyworobaks as Avant-Garde, Peter Kirkpatrick , single work criticism
'In an analogous way, in his chapter on the Jindyworobak poets, Peter Kirkpatrick shows how that movement's seemingly narrow cultural nationalism is in fact complicated by its international affinities with modernist primitivism and the avant-garde. In Casanova's terms, although their founder Rex Ingamells insisted on the 'centrifugal' primacy of national space, in their appropriation of Aboriginal culture they were nonetheless bound up with 'the centripetal forces that strengthen the autonomous and unifying pole of world literary space'.' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xv)
(p. 99-112)
Bobbin Up in the Leseland : Australian Literature in the German Democratic Republic, Nicole Moore , Christina Spittel , single work criticism
'The reading nation m the Leseland - or at least distinct reading formations within two separate national politics - remains an important determinant in Nicole Moore and Cristina Spittel's comparative study of the reception of Dorothy Hewett's novel Bobbin Up (1959) in Australia and the German Democratic Republic. These distinct reception histories work 'as revealingly transposed opposites', as between 1949 and 1990 Australian titles published in East Germany formed 'an alternative cannon, a shadowy literary archive that rewrites Australia's post-war cultural history from behind the iron curtain.' In Australia, the networks of production and reception for Bobbin Up were focused on the Australian Book Society and the GDR on that nation's centralised cultural administration. This meant that its readerships in Australia were at once nationally distinctive but internally marginal within the wider culture of the Menzies era. Moore and Spittel's case study is also sensitive to the discursive frames - humanist, universalist, socialist and feminist - which allowed for the transnational mediation of meanings between these two distinct though internally diverse national cultures of reading. They argue that 'Eastern Bloc editions...formed threads along which literary realisation of intensely localised expressive identity, as Bobbin Up so thoroughly is, travelled beyond themselves and their reading worlds.'' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xv)
(p. 113-126)
An American Introduction : Perfect Readers, Unread Books and Christina Stead's The Man Who Loved Children, Fiona Morrison , single work criticism
'Fiona Morrison treats the reception history of Christina Stead's once neglected masterpiece The Man Who Loved Children (1940) as a case study in the complex relations between the centres of international literary space and the literary province. This difficult and anomalous book was written by an expatriate Australian about her Australian childhood, but the setting was transferred to America during the Depression years of the 1930s at the behest of her American publisher, Simon & Schuster. ' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xv-xvi)
(p. 127-136)
Connectivity, Community and the Question of Literary Universality : Reading Kim Scott's Chronotope and John Kinsella's Commedia, Philip Mead , single work criticism
Taking account of the impact of new social networking technologies, Philip Mead begs the question of how 'literary versions of human collectivity' might now be understood in a world where [c]onnectivity is rapidly evolving in a posthuman world, replacing community'. In suggestive readings of the two recent works with strong local focuses - Kim Scott's That Deadman Dance (2010) and John Kinsella's Divine Comedy: Journeys through Regional Geography (2008) - Mead models a critical practice that overrides Casanovas's binarisms by attending to the multiple possibilities of time, space, identity and collectivity that these textual spaces bring into being. AS he writes: 'Communities are dimensional in the way space is: they exist in time, in historical incarnation, but also in the existential constellations of individual consciousness. Multiple and virtual, they are always expanding and shifting.' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xvi)
(p. 136-155)
Reading Publics, Watching Audiences : Lady Audley's Secret in Nineteenth-Century Melbourne, Susan K. Martin , single work criticism
'Susan K Martin reconstructs the emerging colonial readership for British sensation fiction, complicating her account of gendered sociability by contrasting the reception of Mary Braddon's novel Lady Audley's Secret with spectatorship of its stage adaptation on Melbourne in the early 1860s. She draws here on one of the classic models of eighteenth-century sociability, which John Dwyer refers to as the theatrical, performative or 'spectatorial' model of sociality.' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xvi)
(p. 171-182)
'I Must Be My Own Director' " Cynthia Reed, Elisabeth Lambert, and Reed & Harris, Publishers, Jane Grant , single work criticism
'As the publishers of the avant-garde journal Angry Penguins, the small firm of Reed & Harris is well-known in the history of Australian literature. What is less well-documented is its dealings with the women writers Cynthia Reed (later Nolan) and Elizabeth Lambert. Jane Grant looks at the company's correspondence, 'a far -flung epistolary community', and traces the fortunes of Cynthia's first two novels, in order to recover these two neglected figures for Australian modernism during its most tumultuous period. (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xvii)
(p. 183-194)
'Opposing All the Things They Stand For' : Women Writers and the Women's Magazines, Susan Sheridan , single work criticism
'In her essay on mid twentieth-century women's journalism, Susan Sheridan considers some of the strategies that women writers used to bridge the gap between their hard-earned place in the literary field and their bread-and-butter work for popular women's magazines. Her case studies of Kylie Tennant, Charmian Clift and Barbara Jefferis suggest that writers must negotiate different forms of professional identity as they move from one literary institution to another - from the novel to women's magazines - each of which has its unique networks of sociability and values. When Tennant began writing for the Woman's Mirror in 1961, for example, she felt that she had made her name as a novelist by 'opposing all the things' the women's magazines stood for. Jefferis dealt with the problem by adopting the pen-name 'Margaret Sydney' and assuming the persona of 'an everywoman'. While writing for the women's pages created 'a fragile community of women writers and readers, Sheridan argues that it was too bound up with the gendering of the domestic sphere to constitute 'a positive counter-public sphere', which was not achieved until the rise of women's presses, like Virago, in the 1970s.' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xvii)
(p. 195-204)
Seven Writers and Australia's Literary Capital, D'Arcy Randall , single work criticism
'D'Arcy Randall's essay on the Seven Writers group in Canberra in the 1970s and 1980s is a case study of literary sociability richly informed by both archival and oral history. It explores the internal dynamics of this group who worked collaboratively for a generation to nurture and critique each others writing, publishing both individually and collectively while resisting becoming a 'school'. Meeting in each others' homes to workshop manuscripts and discuss the business of publication, Seven Writers are an example of what Russell and Tuite describe as a site of private sociability: writer Sara Dowse speaks of '"a room of her own"...crowded with seven writerly spirits'. Randall explores the complex and fruitful interaction between the more formal and informal parts of the workshops, describes both the internal dynamics of the group and its relations with outsiders, and considers the role of gender in this 'Australian women's literary community' at a time when other writers' networks, especially in the major cities, were overwhelmingly masculine, and located in other sites of sociability, such as the pub and the writers' festival.' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xvii)
(p. 204-216)
'Networking, Bumping into, Sucking up to, Catching up with, Meeting, Greeting, Chatting, Joking, Criticising' : The Emerging Writers' Community as Respublica Literaria, Keri Glastonbury , single work criticism
Keri Glastonbury's looks at 'how newly imagined communities might be at play in contemporary digitised literary cultures. ' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xviii)
(p. 219-225)
An Unsettled Community : Harpur's Carnival, Harris' Assonance, Mackellar's Code, John Kinsella , single work criticism
Michael Farrell observes 'a textual community is conventionally defined as people brought together by shared texts or reading practices, though 'such a bringing together may be virtual, through online networks'. Recognising that imagined communities, even in Anderson's classic formulation, are indeed 'imagined', papering over forms of difference in inequality, Farrell examines a seemingly disparate group of text by Charles Harpur, Norman Harris and Dorothea Mackellar that betray the 'plural knowledges of the past', forms of poetry that do not support the settlement upon which the imagined community of the nation depends. These are works that by virtue of their aberrant style and form and stance have been left to one side of the cultural nations canon, even when written by poets like Harpur and Mackellar, who otherwise have been enlisted into that settlement. They form, he argues, a community of 'wild' or 'fugitive' texts distinguished by 'their disinterest in building a national literature'. (Source: Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xviii)
(p. 227-238)
The Beginner's Guide to Being an Australian : John O'Grady's They're a Weird Mob, Lindsay Barrett , single work criticism
'Lindsay Barrett interrogates the remarkable effectiveness of Jon O'Grady's They're a Weird Mob - Australia's most popular novel of the 1950s - in negotiating for middlebrow Australian readers the tensions that had arisen between an older version of the 'imagined community' and the new, physical community brought into being by postwar migration. In this sense, Barrett argues, it was 'an intensely ideological work of fiction'. (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xviii)
(p. 239-247)
'He Lacks Almost All the Qualities of the Novelist' : G.M. Glaskin and His Australian Contemporaries, Jeremy Fisher , single work criticism
'Jeremy Fisher questions why G.M. Glaskin, whose books sold well in Europe and America, failed to find critical acclaim and a substantial audience here. Beyond some influential mentors in his hometown of Perth, Glaskin 'never seemed to fit in to the Australian literary community'. His international standing may not have helped, but neither did his homosexuality, and his frank writing about same-sex desire at a time when such themes were still taboo. (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xviii)
(p. 249-256)
Anthologies and the Anti-Republic of Australian Gay and Lesbian Poetry, Ann Vickery , single work criticism
'Anne Vickery...traces how, since the 1980s, periodicals and anthologies have enabled a protean space in which forms of gay and lesbian poetic community have come into being. Historically, queer subcultures have been 'hermetic', lacking an open speaking position within heteronormative society, and Vickery proposes that his place of negativity in relation to the straight world 'may find affinity with poetry's notorious obscurity'. (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xviii)
(p. 257-266)
'All the Village was Running' : Some Voices from Young Refugees in Western Sydney, Lachlan Brown , single work criticism
'Lachlan Brown's account of a writing workshop for young refugees in the western suburbs of Sydney, sponsored by the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation in 2009, is a vivid example of Rubin's axiom that texts both produce networks of sociality and are produced by them. The pieces by refugee writers also confirm her argument that sociability is heterogeneous and unstable, embracing both engagement with and subtle resistance to or difference from dominating forms of identity, including narratives of national belonging. Brown notes a distinct and recurring ambivalence about 'Australia' that unsettles the writing by refugees: Tamil, Afghan or Iraqi identities are withheld and 'in play', always ready to 'overshadow any sense of Australian nationality or citizenship, and those sets of 'values' that are required or promoted by the government.' (Kirkpatrick, Peter and Dixon, Robert: Introduction xviii-xix)
(p. 267-278)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Scenes of Reading : Australia-Canada-Australia Sneja Gunew , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 15 no. 3 2015;
'I found the idea of a ‘scene of writing’ very generative and tried to retrieve a few mises en scène in relation to my own obsessions over the past 45 years of teaching both in Australia and Canada. Reading some of the publications coming out of Robert Dixon’s project (e.g. Dixon and Rooney) I speculated about how fascinating it would be to track Australian scenes of reading in relation to those writers who came to Australian literary texts with knowledge of languages other than English and with cultural contexts other than Anglo-Celtic ones. After the panel session I launched a kind of Festschrift for a writer who has embodied all this for forty years: Antigone Kefala. The book captures many scenes of reading her work in numerous languages and places across the world (Karalis and Nikas). I also started speculating about the recent work by Kim Scott and many others who have been working to salvage Aboriginal languages and that here too there is an important intervention into a prevailing mono-lingualism that still seems to be the default position in Australia. Paradoxically, the work of indigenous writers and critics may make it easier to argue for more attention to be paid to that intra-cosmopolitanism multilingualism comprising the many writers and artists who have always worked within Australia—sometimes in English or an English inflected differently as well as many many other languages (Chow).' (Author's introduction)
Review : Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia Bronwyn Lacken , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Reviews in Australian Studies , vol. 8 no. 4 2014;

— Review of Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia 2012 anthology criticism
Untitled Jim Davidson , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , 1 March vol. 37 no. 1 2013; (p. 133-134)

— Review of Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia 2012 anthology criticism
There's No Escaping the View From Here James Ley , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 19-20 January 2013; (p. 19)

— Review of Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia 2012 anthology criticism
Untitled Lucie O’Brien , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 12 no. 3 2012;

— Review of Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia 2012 anthology criticism
There's No Escaping the View From Here James Ley , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 19-20 January 2013; (p. 19)

— Review of Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia 2012 anthology criticism
Untitled Karen Lamb , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 72 no. 2 2012; (p. 161-163.)

— Review of Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia 2012 anthology criticism
Untitled Jim Davidson , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , 1 March vol. 37 no. 1 2013; (p. 133-134)

— Review of Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia 2012 anthology criticism
Untitled Lucie O’Brien , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 12 no. 3 2012;

— Review of Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia 2012 anthology criticism
[Untitled] Lydia Wevers , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October-November vol. 27 no. 3/4 2012; (p. 151-153)

— Review of Republics of Letters : Literary Communities in Australia 2012 anthology criticism
Scenes of Reading : Australia-Canada-Australia Sneja Gunew , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 15 no. 3 2015;
'I found the idea of a ‘scene of writing’ very generative and tried to retrieve a few mises en scène in relation to my own obsessions over the past 45 years of teaching both in Australia and Canada. Reading some of the publications coming out of Robert Dixon’s project (e.g. Dixon and Rooney) I speculated about how fascinating it would be to track Australian scenes of reading in relation to those writers who came to Australian literary texts with knowledge of languages other than English and with cultural contexts other than Anglo-Celtic ones. After the panel session I launched a kind of Festschrift for a writer who has embodied all this for forty years: Antigone Kefala. The book captures many scenes of reading her work in numerous languages and places across the world (Karalis and Nikas). I also started speculating about the recent work by Kim Scott and many others who have been working to salvage Aboriginal languages and that here too there is an important intervention into a prevailing mono-lingualism that still seems to be the default position in Australia. Paradoxically, the work of indigenous writers and critics may make it easier to argue for more attention to be paid to that intra-cosmopolitanism multilingualism comprising the many writers and artists who have always worked within Australia—sometimes in English or an English inflected differently as well as many many other languages (Chow).' (Author's introduction)
Last amended 30 Jan 2017 12:16:34
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