The Australian Home-Front Novel of the Second World War: Genre, Gender and Region

Australia has recently reached the end of a cycle of sixtieth anniversaries of the major episodes of the Pacific war that, coming on the heels of the fiftieth, shows every sign of developing into a permanent 'anniversary culture ' . While popular appetite for myth-making around events such as the fall of Singapore, the bombing of Darwin and the Changi POW camp appears undiminished, it is equally true that no single image or narrative has emerged for the second war to rival the power of 'Gallipoli' or 'national loss of innocence' for the first. This might be due to the sense of belatedness that characterises attitudes both to the second war itself and to the cultural products - poems, novels, memoirs, and more recently films and tele- vision documentaries and mini-series - that it has spawned. As Robin Gerster puts it, 'In Australia, the First World War - distant, but grandiloquently mythologised - has cast a gigantic obscuring shadow over the conflict that followed, a kind of cultural blackout to match the actual one of the war years' ('World Wars' 9).

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Published 1 May 2007 in Volume 23 No. 1. Subjects: Australian war literature, World War II.

Cite as: Hatherell, William. ‘The Australian Home-Front Novel of the Second World War: Genre, Gender and Region.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, 2007, doi: 10.20314/als.8323eb02dc.