Review of Native Companions and Judith Wright by A.D. Hope
Native Companions is a lively and stimulating book, a selection of reviews, radio talks, occasional lectures and articles on Australian literature written by A.D. Hope over a period of three decades. Most readers are likely to see in these selections something more than the merely ephemeral 'period interest' the author attributes to them in his brief Preface. In fact the book makes readily accessible, for the first time, something of the range and depth of Hope's interests in Australian writing. And as with most creative writers who write criticism, many of the pieces reprinted here illuminate attitudes and preoccupations in Hope's own poetry as well as in the work of the writers they deal with. This is particularly true of the first three pieces in the volume, which raise general issues about the creative writer's relationship to his world by focussing directly on autobiographical concerns. The volume also provides some fine examples of Hope's unique prose style: his personal blend of formality and informality, his lightly worn scholarship, his imaginative flair for unusual analogies and for witty and pointed anecdotes.
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