Henry Lawson and the bush myth

McLaren, John (1979) Henry Lawson and the bush myth. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

Abstract

Early draft of an article on Henry Lawson, never published. Contains a review of Henry Lawson’s literary work. The work of Henry Lawson represents one of the two possible responses by Australians to their situation. One response, the internationalist, is to recognize that Australia is culturally provincial, incapable of sustaining an independent culture in the manner of metropolitan centres. The internationalist sees the work of the Australian writer as belonging within the broad stream of the English literary tradition, and judges it by the standards of that tradition. The nationalist, on the other hand, sees the setting, the particular nature of life in Australia, as the central fact of Australian literature. He sees all life as controlled by particular circumstance, and therefore sees the value of Australian writing in its exploration of the Australian experience. Work is to be judged not by its supposed interest to readers remote from the life depicted, but by its contribution to our understanding of ourselves. In judging Lawson we must recognize that his own concern is with what is distinctively Australian, and that as a consequence he alters our perception of the possibilities of life in Australia, yet in attending to him we need to be aware that he works in a larger tradition than the Australian.

Additional Information

Date is approximate.

Item type Other
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/17439
Subjects Current > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Current > Collections > McLaren Papers
Keywords Australian literature, white settlement, bush writing, countryside, rural mythology, MCLAREN-BOXD7-DOC4
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