Making Oz Lit. "The Making of the Australian Literary Imagination" by Richard Nile. [review]
Reviewers of the last batch of Australian literary histories rightly asked in what sense such works can be considered 'historical'. After reading the second Oxford history, David Carter even wondered if literary critics were the best people, after all, to write literary history, or whether the job should be left to professional historians. It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that among the most satisfyingly 'historical' chapters in "The Penguin New Literary History of Australia" (1988) and "The Oxford Literary History of Australia" (1998) were those written by historian Richard Nile. Nile's new book, "The Making of the Australian Literary Imagination", is an elaboration of those highly regarded chapters. Its importance lies in its innovative approach to the problem of writing literary history.