Review of A Companion to Australian Literature since 1900, edited by Nicholas Birns and Rebecca McNeer.
A Companion to Australian Literature since 1900 offers a fresh perspective on Australian literature. This thought-provoking companion is edited by two North American scholars (many will be familiar with Nicholas Birns as the editor of Antipodes: A North American Journal of Australian Literature) and eschews the 'self-congratulatory perspective often taken when discussing the general course of Australian literary history' (1). In their introductory essay, the editors clearly mark out the particular framing they have sought for their volume: one that departs from the more familiar teleological readings of Australian literature in terms of 'emergence' and 'development', accounts that in recent decades have taken comfort from the notion that Australian literature has reached a stage where it is 'good enough' to warrant serious attention at home and abroad. Instead, Birns and McNeer tease out the multiple investments both writers and scholars have had in notions of 'tradition' and 'nation' and they engage productively with those tensions between the global and the local that inevitably shape any discussion of contemporary national literary cultures.
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Cite as: Dever, Maryanne. ‘Review of A Companion to Australian Literature since 1900, edited by Nicholas Birns and Rebecca McNeer..’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, 2009, doi: 10.20314/als.b29cc3a588.