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Australia's Writers and Poets by John Miller

Australia's Writers and Poets

by John Miller

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I can't compare this little volume to others on the topic, because I haven't read any others. Miller opens with an essay on Aboriginal literature, then proceeds chronologically with Australian literature as a whole, from Colonial times to the time of the present volume's publication. The text is well written, informative, and full of titles that I have added to my list of prospective reading material. I do wonder at Miller's exclusion of George Johnston, the author of My Brother Jack, one of the few Australian novels I have read and one which I have added to my Top Ten List. I considered for a moment that Johnston is simply not as good or as important as the authors Miller included, which would mean I really have a treat in store for me as I work my way through the Australian authors he chooses to discuss. Though I do anticipate a lot of good reading from titles mentioned, I cannot conclude that Johnston was not a worthy or important Australian author. Though assessments of his early work are less than enthusiastic, the critical success of My Brother Jack cannot be denied. It won the prestigious Miles Franklin Award in Australia and was described by a reviewer in the Illustrated London News as "one of the greatest books written this century." I'm not going to worry further about this omission or any others that might have occurred. Miller's necessarily brief survey of Australian literature has succeeded in telling me a great deal more about the Australian literary tradition than I knew before I read it. And I was impressed enough with its ambition that I have ordered all the other titles in Exisle Publishing's "Little Red Books" series on Australia. (April 2009) ( )
  bookcrazed | Jan 16, 2012 |
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