Review of Australian Literary Criticism—1945-1988: An Annotated Bibliography, by Robert L. Ross.
This annotated bibliography by American scholar Robert Ross is a useful and welcome addition to the recent upsurge of guides and bibliographies. Its contribution can be indicated by placing it in relation to previous bibliographies in the American Gale series, one edited by Australians, two by Americans. Barry Andrews and W.H. Wilde, Australian Literature to 1900 (Detroit: Gale Research Co, 1980) is a standard modern guide to the multitudinous seas of nineteenth century Australian literature, while A. Grove Day, Modern Australian Prose 1901-1945 (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1980) and Herbert C. Jaffa, Modern Australian Poetry (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1979) are valuable guides to the twentieth century. As the title announces Ross's work has a different emphasis from the Jaffa and Day but it also serves to supplement, not to entirely replace them. It brings them up to date and courageously concentrates on a 'core' of major writers and on three 'major genres'—drama, fiction, poetry. And one can readily agree that Ross's chosen period, 1945-1988, was one of extraordinary 'flowering' both in the creative literature and to a lesser extent in the criticism which burgeoned with the post-1960 institutionalisation of Australian literature.
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