Friday, November 16, 2018



Australian literature is a large body of writing that can include early versions and
English translations of Aboriginal song sequences or folktales, the memoirs, journals
and ballads of early European explorers and settlers. It also includes the more formal
works of literature that followed as writing and publishing established its sway on the
island continent. Like the literature of any other nation it captures in many ways the
growth and development of Australia into the country that we know today.
It can be said that much of what we can include under the category of Australian
literature from the early phases of its development was not what would be
traditionally considered literature. For example, the oral songs and stories of the
Aboriginal peoples of Australia were passed on orally from generation to generation
without being written.
 AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE,   AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE notes, Ugc Net Jrf, English literature, Net jrf Notes
English Literature

 Even when they were recorded in English versions it was done
more with an anthropological intention than a literary one. The idea was to learn
more about the culture and values of the Aboriginal peoples from a scientific point of
view than to study the aesthetic aspects of these creations. Similarly, the records,
memoirs, diaries and journals that are today included under the study of literature
were not always meant for this purpose. They were often the private or official
records of explorers, administrators and settlers. However, these works are important
sources that reveal how the land, circumstances and people of Australia evolved in
the thoughts and imagination of the people who lived there or visited it. They show
how Australian literature came to be written and the early influences on this body of
T.S. Eliot
The ballads of the convicts and the bush songs belong more to a period when
Australian literature began to be an institution in itself. Periodicals like the Bulletin,
which started publication in 1880, were part of this trend. The ballads and bush
songs, which had earlier been mostly part of the folk tradition, now becamp@ of
the literary tradition. Writers began to consciously cultivate and develop the forms,
themes and figures of the oral ballads and bush songs. 'Banjo' Patterson belongs to
this school of writing. 'Waltzing Matilda' a ballad about a swagman - a travelling
farm worker in the Australian outback - has become to many Australians of
European descent, a kind of unofficial national anthem.
 AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE to Australian captures the spirit of surviving in a harsh landscape, the pioneering spirit as well as a bold attitude to life and the authorities.
Literature in Australia developed and began to take on many other forms such as the
popular short story, the literary version of the fire,side yam. Henry Laws and
Barbara Bayntou were prominent short story writers who contributed greatly to the
growth and development of this genre during this formative stage. Their writing
captured features of the growth of the Australian cultural myths of the Bush and its
people. The Erardships and spirit of the European settlers and bush people during the
pioneering days finds expression in their work.
Commonwealth of Australia
At this early stage of development it was but natural that the writers who were mainly
from alnollg the British settlers would-bring to their writing the values and forms of
the British traditions of literature. In this sense, early Australian literature was
constantly looking over its shoulder at England. This soon developed into a source of
tension as some writers felt that the best direction for Australian literature was to
follow and maintain British traditions of great literature. Others felt that as Australia
was so different from England! that it should cut the umbilical cord from the another
couiltry and develop an identity of its own as a nation and this should be reflected in
Australian literature.
Australian history and literature do reveal the many tensions that have gone into the
making of the Australian nation. These are : the tension between the old country of
England, the lnetropolitan c,oIonial centre and the new country of Australia on the
antipodean margins of the British Empire; he tension between the settlers and the
indigenous Aborigines; the tension between early waves of settlers and more recent
immigrants; the tension between the old language, images and literary forms of
British literature and the idiom, images and literary forms taking root in the new
environment of Australia. All these tensions shaped the themes and forms of
Australian literature.
As in much of the rest of the English speaking world, in Australia the first halfof the
twentieth century saw the genre of poetry being more popular and the second half
saw the novel rising to prominence. A.D. Hope and Judith Wrigbt are the canonical
figures of Australian poetry during its heyday. Patrick White, Australia's Nobel Prize
laureate, is probably the best known and most taught of Australia's novelists. Their
writing began to move away from both a purely derivative imitation of European
forms as well as a focus on the people and mores of the Rush. Modem Australia, of
the cities began to figure more distinctly in their writing. As the face of the Australian
nation began to change, its literature began to reflect that change. Writers like Kath
Walker, Mudrooroo, Kevin Gilbert and Sally Morgan have brought the poetry, drama
and stories of the Aboriginal peoples to the forefront. There has also been a trend
towards autobiographies, biographies and life-stories gaining more and more
popularity. The multicultural is that is being promoted at a political level is being
reflected in the diverse voices being heard in the realm of Australian literature.
Today there are more women, Aborigines, imigrants whose voices join the exciting
confluence that is Australian literature.

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