Australian literature is one of the richest bodies of work in world literature, dealing not only with "local" Australian issues but also with themes and questions at the forefront of global literary discussion. This comprehensive new Companion takes a fresh look at Australian literature since 1900, taking a broad view of what literature is and viewing it with Australian cultural and societal concerns in mind. Especially relevant here is the heightened role accorded to Australia's indigenous people -- both in literature and in public discourse in the wider sense -- following the landmark 1992 Mabo decision on Aboriginal land rights. Thus two full chapters are devoted to indigenous literature and indigenous issues, which also inform many of the other chapters. Attention to other multicultural connections -- in chapters on Asian-Australian and Jewish-Australian literature and Australian-New Zealand literary relations -- reveal dimensions that few have fully examined. At the same time, the competing pull of Australia's continued connection to Great Britain is given its due.There are chapters on internationally prominent authors such as Patrick White, Peter Carey, David Malouf, and Christina Stead, as well as those of growing reputation such as Gerald Murnane and Tim Winton and less-publicized yet crucially important writers such as Xavier Herbert and Dorothy Hewett. There are also chapters on prose fiction, poetry, drama, children's literature, science fiction, and regional literature, as well as on women's writing and gay and lesbian writing. Together, the articles demonstrate that Australian literature is part of world literature, going beyond Eurocentric ideas of national literary history to reveal the full, resplendent variety of Australian writing. Nicholas Birns teaches literature at the New School in New York City and is editor of Antipodes: A North American Journal of Australian Literature and author of Understanding Anthony Powell (2004). Rebecca McNeer is Associate Dean at Ohio Southern University and has published on Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and Australian literature
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