Urban Influence on Australian Literature in the Late Nineteenth Century


Undoubtedly during the last half of the nineteenth century Australian cities and urban life generally had become vitally important in determining the nature of economic, social and political life in Australia. [...] Paradoxically many historians, including Glynn and Briggs, have acknowledged that in this very same period 'one of the most highly urbanized countries in the world sought its national inspiration in the bush'. The resulting myth of the dominance of the outback over Australia's development as a nation, a myth which has had considerable influence over both the Australian people and their historians right up to the present, can be seen largely as a sustained attempt by the littérateurs of the 'eighties and the 'nineties to develop and reflect through their work a corporate sense of identity and national feeling. Given this paradoxical situation it is important to arrive at a closer understanding of the outlook of these writers and the content of their work in the light of the urban-dominated nature of Australian life.

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Published 1 October 1975 in Volume 7 No. 2. Subjects: Australia - Literary portrayal, Australian myths, Ballads, Bush, Bush poetry, Colonial literature & writers, Country vs city, Urban landscape, Urban life.

Cite as: Woodward, Judith M.. ‘Urban Influence on Australian Literature in the Late Nineteenth Century.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 7, no. 2, 1975, doi: 10.20314/als.1941f0b32a.