The concept of Australian literary studies is becoming increasingly the object of critical debate as exemplified, for instance, by the forum in the previous issue of ALS and in Southerly (Carter; Dale; I. Henderson; M. Henderson; Hughes-D'Aeth; Moore; Syson; Treagus; Whitlock). However, in the academic circles that study the variant languages and literatures known as English, certain topics are more likely to be avoided than confronted. One of them is the question why European scholars should devote themselves - if possible exclusively - to one and only one extra-canonical literature, for example that of Australia? What objective reason, as opposed to perfectly legitimate motives of personal interest, can there be for such a demand - and it is one made more or less insistently by numerous supporters of what might be called the national perspective in literary studies?
Published 1 May 2000 in Volume 19 No. 3. Subjects: Australian literature - Study & teaching, Australian literature - Study & teaching - Overseas, British Empire, Defining an Australian literature, English literature - Study & teaching, National literatures, Nationalism.