Short Story Anthologies and ‘the Solid Body of Australian Fiction’

ANTHOLOGIES of any kind of writing serve as monuments, operating according to the complex functions that the term incorporates. Anthologies appear to be a record of some kind of positive knowledge or corpus and accordingly present themselves as printed forms of factual evidence representing various literary genres, kinds ofjournalism or bodies ofknowledge. But as monuments they also seek to commemorate, that is, give value to, this factual evidence. Anthologies, in other words, play several roles. In one sense they describe a group of texts as though selecting them from a larger body of possibilities. In another they constitute that group of texts and also what gets to be called that imaginary larger body (from which the particular anthology contents appear to be drawn). In yet another they consecrate that group of texts as the best examples drawn from that larger body of possibilities according to terms that the anthologiser dictates.

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Published 1 May 2000 in Volume 19 No. 3. Subjects: Australian fiction, Australian literary criticism, Australian literary history, Defining an Australian literature, Short story anthologies.

Cite as: Holden, Stephen. ‘Short Story Anthologies and ‘the Solid Body of Australian Fiction’.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 19, no. 3, 2000, doi: 10.20314/als.445450794f.