Review of The Lyre in the Pawnshop: Essays on Literature and Survival 1974-1984 by Fay Zwicky; and The Uncertain Self: Essays in Australian Literature and Criticism by Harry Heseltine
There is something rather anachronistic about these two volumes of essays, H. P. Heseltine's The Uncertain Self and Fay Zwicky's The Lyre in the Pawnshop. Nowadays Australian writers and critics find it very difficult to have a collection of essays published unless there is some theme or polemical argument uniting them, offering more than the author's name as an enticement to buy. Also, the role of the critic as the guardian of values which was so much a part of my generation's initial readings in literary criticism—the collections by a Leavis, a Trilling, or a Steiner dealing with literature and culture—has been overtaken by the role of the theorist. The difference might not seem important; the humanistic critic, however, was marked by a sure invocation of agreed sets of values and priorities, while the theorist sees such things in much the same way as the literary forms themselves—as provisional and constructed. So times have changed.
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Cite as: Turner, Graeme. ‘Review of The Lyre in the Pawnshop: Essays on Literature and Survival 1974-1984 by Fay Zwicky; and The Uncertain Self: Essays in Australian Literature and Criticism by Harry Heseltine.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, 1987, doi: 10.20314/als.64180df266.