Book Chapter

Nation, literature, location

P Mead

The Cambridge History of Australian Literature | Published : 2009

Abstract

Until recently ‘Australian literature’ has been an imagined entity that belonged predominantly to the discourse of national culture and its institutions. The historiography of this institution, with its constant revisions and contradictions, is complex. But by far and away the strongest influence on its formation was the rage for nation that Europeans in Australia brought with them from the beginning. This will to nation, driven more than anything by an unassuageable hunger for identity in possession of the land, was political, social, psychological and mythic. It was also divided between an anxious sense of being displaced and inferior, and a confidence in being independent and distinctive...

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