A.G. Stephens: An Internationalist Critic
A. G. Stephens came to be identified as the focal figure of this nationalistic literary movement. A closer examination of 'The Red Page' itself shows this to be a myth, a fallacy based not on fact but on reputation. Although Stephens directed and brought to fruition much of the indigenous literary talent it does not necessarily follow that he was a nationalist; in fact he was supremely aware of the dangers of such a policy to the very concept of literature itself. Ironically, considering his nationalist reputation, over half of Stephens' literary criticism on 'The Red Page' is concerned with non-Australian literature, and indeed Stephens was an internationalist, standing outside the Bulletin tradition. It is clear that Stephens conceived a definite role for himself as an international critic, that he had clearly defined ideas on the way in which knowledge of foreign literatures could influence the local literary scene as well as theories concerning the way in which an Australian view point could assist international literary criticism in general.
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Published 1 May 1977 in Volume 8 No. 1. Subjects: Australian literature - Comparisons with overseas literature, Literary criticism, Literary influences, A.G. Stephens.