It is difficult to overstate the importance ofthis work as one ofthe first major volumes to address the idea ofthe sacred in post-World War II Australian literature. It is ambitious, setting the ambitions of literature itself into a scholarly framework offine textual readings and drawing conclusions about wider national culture.
The argument of the book is that post-World War II Australian literature has moved to uncover a kind of sacredness 'peculiar to Australia' (2). This has occurred because of the movement away from an emphasis on time and rationalistic discourse to the 'space that overwhelms it' (22), as well as the transformation of the European vertical sublime into a horizontal sublime which simultaneously considers vast Australian distances alongside the intimacy of those 'proximate details of everyday life' (12). Furthermore, as the title suggests, the volume attempts to show the ways in which formerly repressed Indigenous ideas of the sacred have become enmeshed within a number ofworks which point out new and hybridised ways offiguring the sacred.