Literary Criticism in Australia: A Change of Critical Paradigms?


For an outsider who began to familiarise himself with the literature from Australia and the concomitant critical debate on its history, its nature and status in the 1980s, it would be preposterous to assume that new ground could be broken in a short essay on a methodological debate which, during the last three decades, has filled thousands of pages in books, journals and newspapers. Yet at the same time, the duration and intensity of this debate and, more importantly, the noticeable methodological shift in the last few years, poses a challenge to any scholar or literary critic interested in investigating the formation and development of English language literatures and in determining their relationship with other English language literatures. The purpose of this essay, then, will be to assess the more recent development towards multiple theoretical approaches to Australian literature.

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Published 1 June 1991 in European Perspectives: Contemporary Essays on Australian Literature. Subjects: Australian culture, Australian women writers, Critical theories & approaches, Cultural cringe, Defining an Australian literature, Migrant literature & writers, Multiculturalism, Nationalism, Postcolonial literature & writers.

Cite as: Riemenschneider, Dieter. ‘Literary Criticism in Australia: A Change of Critical Paradigms?.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 15, no. 2, 1991, doi: 10.20314/als.203078be87.