Review of The Australian Short Story: An Anthology from the 1890s to the 1980s; The Australian Short Story 1940-1980: A bibliography; and Lines of Implication: Australian Short Fiction from Lawson to Palmer
In one sense, the short story is not at all a neglected genre in Australia. Since the 1890s at least (and throughout the nineteenth century, as Cecil Hadgraft's recent anthology, The Australian Short Story Before Lawson, 1986, demonstrates) many writers have turned to the short story form. The popularity of the form in Australia possibly supports Frank O'Connor's theory (in The Lonely Voice, 1965) that the short story has flourished in relatively anarchic, frontier societies where social bonds are loose, expectations are not firmly established and rapid changes of fortune and outlook occur. The short story is seldom historical in scope, preferring contemporaneity and the revelatory moment; hence its special relevance, as document or symptom of its time and circumstance. Strangely however, the short story has been spurned by most critics and historians (including the authors of recent histories of Australian literature), who have presumably found it too protean, popular or fugitive a subject for their sustained attention.
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Cite as: Bennett, Bruce. ‘Review of The Australian Short Story: An Anthology from the 1890s to the 1980s; The Australian Short Story 1940-1980: A bibliography; and Lines of Implication: Australian Short Fiction from Lawson to Palmer.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, 1987, doi: 10.20314/als.663489cda6.