Review of By the Book: A Literary History of Queensland, edited by Patrick Buckridge and Belinda McKay.

Although one might wonder at the enterprise of compiling a literary history of a state, which is, after all, a political entity, one could argue that Queensland 's unique geographical features (such as the Barrier Reef), economic development (the sugar industry), and politics (Job Bjelke-Petersen) have influenced writing there in identifiable ways. And in reading this collection I was reminded of Thea Astley's remark that being a Queenslander, like being a Catholic, is conducive to creativity.

The editors have been flexible and inclusive in defining their subject, allowing attention to an impressive array of authors who have lived in, passed through, or written about Queensland; included are Xavier Herbert, who lived there but (mainly) wrote works set elsewhere, and Patrick White, who did not live there but wrote novels with Queensland settings. The contributions to this literary history are almost as varied as the landscapes and the people of the state whose story it tells. The collection is organised regionally although the editors wisely resisted imposing rigid guidelines on their contributors, who were left to their own schemes of organisation.

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Published 1 November 2008 in Volume 23 No. 4. Subjects: Book history, Queensland.

Cite as: Zeller, Robert. ‘Review of By the Book: A Literary History of Queensland, edited by Patrick Buckridge and Belinda McKay..’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 23, no. 4, 2008. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.d3884732cb.