Review of Death is a Good Solution by A.W. Baker; and Snow on the Saltbush by Geoffrey Dutton
The first five volumes of John Ferguson's monumental Bibliography of Australia are a measure of the enormous task facing the would-be surveyor/interpreter of writing concerned with the convict system in this country. And 'Ferguson' does not exhaust the field; A. W. Baker mentions previously unknown convict writings in Death is a Good Solution, and more exist. The sheer diversity of the material, which embraces virtually every kind of writing, demands a more elastic meaning for the term 'literature'. The situation is of course no better for a surveyor of the twentieth century Australian literary landscape. Like Baker, Geoffrey Dutton is driven to a broader interpretation in Snow on the Saltbush, which is valid for both authors: 'It is not just fiction, poetry and drama. Literature is history, journals, essays, biography, travel, sermons, and meditations, speeches, even how-to-do-it books (p.5)'. In their differing ways, both works under review tackle this multiformity.
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Published 1 May 1987 in Volume 13 No. 1.
Cite as: Hanna, Cliff. ‘Review of Death is a Good Solution by A.W. Baker; and Snow on the Saltbush by Geoffrey Dutton.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, 1987, doi: 10.20314/als.598ccfca3b.