What Created, What Perceived?: Early Responses to New South Wales


How, then, should we view the recent historiography of our imaginative evolution—as we have to date, as a valid description of what has occurred? Or, along with literature and art, as a major force in the creation of national myth and our present imaginative ethos? Central in any assessment of its fundamental character would seem the question Wordsworth posed when he spoke of 'the mighty world / Of eye and ear, both what they half create, / And what perceive.' What have the historians of our culture simply perceived? Rather than its having emerged naturally and inevitably from historical detail, how much of the pattern which they present have they created? And if they have created the pattern to any significant degree, to what extent have the historians defined our present reality by imposing this pattern on our past?

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Published 1 October 1975 in Volume 7 No. 2. Subjects: Australia - Literary portrayal, Australian culture, Australian landscape - Literary portrayal, Australian myths, Bush, Colonial life, Colonial literature & writers, Creative imagination, Historiography.

Cite as: Frost, Alan. ‘What Created, What Perceived?: Early Responses to New South Wales.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 7, no. 2, 1975, doi: 10.20314/als.06648fb8cb.