The idea of putting together a group of papers taking up European perspectives on Australian literature came to me as the need to pick a fruit which seemed ripe, since Europe now has an active group of scholars who share this interest across methodological boundaries. ALS immediately came to mind as the most appropriate place of publication and the editor, Laurie Hergenhan, promptly endorsed the idea. A small nucleus of editors rallied to discuss the enterprise. One of the first suggestions to emerge was to limit the contributors to Europeans, excluding expatriates (although Bruce Clunies Ross was one of the editors), and those contacted were asked to make proposals taking into account the problematic issue of Europeanness, without in any way taking it for granted. This collection thereby joins the debate on Eurocentricity, which it admits and does not circumvent. What emerges is a critical discourse which is cogent and anything but dialectically rigid, in the crude terms of any Australia-Europe contrast. It is therefore not monolithic, and takes into account the multifarious aspects of intercultural relations.
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Published 1 June 1991 in European Perspectives: Contemporary Essays on Australian Literature. Subjects: Aboriginal literature, Australian culture, Australian landscape - Literary portrayal, Australian literary history, Australian literature - Study & teaching - Overseas, Europe, Isolation (Emotional & social), Natural beauty.