Review of Convict Words: Language in Early Colonial Australia, by Amanda Laugesen, and Chain Letters: Narrating Convict Lives, edited by Lucy Frost and Hamish Maxwell-Stewart.

What makes these two books on convictism complement one another so well is their shared concern with the power of words. This may be an unsurprising statement in relation to Amanda Laugesen's book, a dictionary from those indefatigable monitors of Australian linguistic habits, the Australian National Dictionary Centre. Convict Words will be warmly welcomed by colonial historians, scholars of colonial writing, and general readers alike for its informative and well-researched entries on the development of a language of convictism. As the ninth addition to the Australian National Dictionary Centre's book list, the tardiness of this volume is somewhat curious, given the importance of convict experience in popular narratives of Australian history.

The full text of this essay is available to ALS subscribers

Please sign in to access this article and the rest of our archive.

Not a member? Subscribe now from only $24/year

Published 1 May 2004 in Volume 21 No. 3. Subjects: Convict literature.

Cite as: Bremer, Anette. ‘Review of Convict Words: Language in Early Colonial Australia, by Amanda Laugesen, and Chain Letters: Narrating Convict Lives, edited by Lucy Frost and Hamish Maxwell-Stewart..’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 21, no. 3, 2004. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.811e110e63.