Review of Australian in Western Imaginative Prose Writings 1600-1960 by Werner P. Friederich
Condescension used to be the besetting sin of British and other 'foreign' critics of Australian literature. The boot is now on the other foot. When a genial, Australophile, American scholar like Professor Friederich (founder of the University of North Carolina Studies in Comparative Literature) decides that 'an investigation not of what Australian, but of what other Western men of letters have had to say about this very old land and its very new settlers' is worthwhile, it behoves us to salute his resolution and his courage. A study of the emerging 'image' of Australia abroad is potentially an ambitious and an exciting enterprise. Alas, it is one thing to propose a theme, quite another to dispose of it, and it must regretfully be reported that Fricderich's literary pudding proves in the eating disappointing fare. To avoid both hypercriticism and condescension in discussing the book presents a real problem to an Australian critic.
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