Review of An Introduction to the Australian Novel 1830-1930 by Barry Argyle


Although its title implies a literary-historical survey and a greater inclusiveness, Barry Argyle's book is in fact a collection of essays on Quintus Scrvinton, Ralph Rashleigh, Tales of the Colonies and The Bushrangers of Van Diemen's Land, Thomas McCombie's Arabin, Geoffry Hamlyn, For the Term of his Natural Life, Robbery Under Arms, Such is Life, The Escape of the Notorious Sir William Heans and The Fortunes of Richard Mahony. Although the essays on these novels are related to each other by recurring themes, the most prominent and successfully argued being the influence of Sir Walter Scott, and although there are frequent references to later novelists, particularly Patrick White and Randolph Stow, they do not provide an introduction to the Australian novel in general or even in the (rather curious) period chosen for detailed consideration. Unfortunately, one can not simply disregard the misleading and pretentious title and proceed to the individual essays because within them the author constantly attempts to engage not only with the Australian novel but also with Australian society from 1788 to the present.

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Published 1 October 1973 in Volume 6 No. 2.

Cite as: Kiernan, Brian. ‘Review of An Introduction to the Australian Novel 1830-1930 by Barry Argyle.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, 1973, doi: 10.20314/als.3ec5dc11c2.