Review of A History of Australian Literature, vol 1 1789-1923, vol. 2 1923-1950 by H.M. Green, rev. Dorothy Green; and A History of Australian Literature by Ken Goodwin
H.M. Green's A History of Australian Literature, first published in 1961, is irreplaceable. As the first comprehensive account of our literature 'pure and applied' it remains a cornerstone of all subsequent efforts in this field. Its large-hearted comprehensiveness may have been a deterrent to later historians of Australian literature. At any rate, The Oxford History of Australian Literature, edited by Leonie Kramer did not appear until 1981 and Ken Goodwin's History ofAustralian Literature until 1986. It remains a small crop given the richness of the soil and one major reason is that Green's History has been found such a reliable source and guide book. As a history by a single author of the literature of a nation, Green's massive work (1469 pages in the 1961 edition, 1543 in this revised edition) is as important to literate Australians as are Saintsbury, Tyler and K.R. Srinivasar Iyengar to English, American and Anglo-Indian readers. It will be reissued as long as Australians take an interest in their literary past.
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Published 1 October 1986 in Volume 12 No. 4.
Cite as: Bennett, Bruce. ‘Review of A History of Australian Literature, vol 1 1789-1923, vol. 2 1923-1950 by H.M. Green, rev. Dorothy Green; and A History of Australian Literature by Ken Goodwin.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 12, no. 4, 1986, doi: 10.20314/als.204c55ec40.