Review of Arcady in Australia: The Evocation of Australia in Nineteenth Century Literature by Coral Lansbury
The title of Dr Lansbury's book cannot fail to arouse interest for it announces a subject that has stimulated much conjecture yet only sporadic study. Her thesis postulates that the dominant image of Australia as 'Arcady' was a myth created by English novelists, notably Lytton, Dickens and Reade, drawing on the works (1847-1852) of Samuel Sidney who had never been to Australia; and that this image in turn was not only swallowed whole by Australian writers and emigrants, but also by indigenous Australians themselves, determining how they saw themselves and their country. Despite some tentativeness (or shiftiness?) in the brief introduction, and in the final paragraph of the book, Lansbury rides her revolutionary thesis hard, and is generally more provoking than provocative.
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Published 1 May 1972 in Volume 5 No. 3.
Cite as: Edwards, P. D. and Laurie Hergenhan. ‘Review of Arcady in Australia: The Evocation of Australia in Nineteenth Century Literature by Coral Lansbury.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 5, no. 3, 1972, doi: 10.20314/als.e3c809aeac.