Review of That Shining Band, Christina Stead, Dancing on Hot Macadam: Peter Carey's Fiction, Provisional Maps: Critical Essays on David Malouf, and The Ironic Eye
Two review articles in this journal a couple of years ago offered suggestive overviews of the current state of literary criticism. Ken Stewart's review of then recent collections of essays, 'Australian Criticism in "Transition"' (ALS 16.1, 100-05), traced the absorption of deconstructionist, feminist and postcolonial theories into local academic discourse, a process which he saw as having separated it from 'traditional' or 'general' reviewing. Susan Lever, in 'The Cult of the Author' (ALS 16.2, 229-33), saw the small local market for criticism dominated by multinational publishers and the secondary school curricula, with the result that only two kinds of critical books were appearing: collections of essays by various hands and the author- centred monographs she reviewed, which included titles in OUP's 'Australian Writers' series and UQP's 'Studies in Australian Literature'. These she saw as emphasising relationships between the author's life and work at the expense of the relationships between that work and other 'cultural formations', and forcing academic critics who wished to publish into 'a conservative and untheoretical' role. As I read this latest clutch of mainly author-centred studies from mainly university-based presses I wondered about both sets of generalisations.
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Cite as: Kiernan, Brian. ‘Review of That Shining Band, Christina Stead, Dancing on Hot Macadam: Peter Carey's Fiction, Provisional Maps: Critical Essays on David Malouf, and The Ironic Eye.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 17, no. 2, 1995, doi: 10.20314/als.8e061414f7.