Review of Melbourne or the Bush: Essays on Australian Literature and Society by Chris Wallace-Crabbe
The book, divided into three parts, pivots on two autobiographical pieces, 'My 1930's' and 'Melbourne in 1963'. It ends with an essay called 'The Spells of Landscape' in which discussion moves from Rill Hart-Smith's 'quiet poetry of observed fact', chiefly rural, to Vincent Buckley's 'anatomy of Melbourne' in 'The Golden Builders'. In the latter, Wallace-Crabbe asserts, 'The sharp, country-trained eye does more than see the details of city life: in league with a restlessly ambitious intelligence it creates a veritable city of a poem, dark, bittersweet, rich and complex in its articulation.' In the rich possibilities of that Melbourne, Chris Wallace-Crabbe in this selection comes home to roost. Though mercifully not to crow, for his concern for the local environment is balanced by an awareness of its limitations within a world context.
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Published 1 October 1975 in Volume 7 No. 2.
Cite as: Bennett, Bruce. ‘Review of Melbourne or the Bush: Essays on Australian Literature and Society by Chris Wallace-Crabbe.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 7, no. 2, 1975, doi: 10.20314/als.c51d63ea84.