Review Australian Literature: An Historical Introduction, by John McLaren
Among the paradoxes produced by the incorporation of post-structuralist literary theory into Australian literary studies, is the recent coincidence of the widespread acceptance of the notion that histories are constructed or 'fictionalised' with the revival of publishers' interest in histories of Australian literature. With the Oxford history now firmly established as the point where Anglophile traditional accounts of Australian literature reveal their inadequacies, and with the multi-authored Penguin New Literary History (general editor, Laurie Hergenhan) catching the eye of most judges over Ken Goodwin's earlier Macmillan history, one would have thought the demands of pluralism—at least—had now been met. John McLaren's Australian Literature: An Historical Introduction does, however, stand a chance of marking out a specific piece of the territory for itself.
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Published 1 October 1990 in Volume 14 No. 4.