Friday, October 30, 2015

Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead

My forthcoming book on Australian literature is about to be released by the University of Sydney Press. The link can be found hereThe book is a summation of my quarter-century of studying Australian literature and is even, on the fringes, partially autobiographical as I tell the story of how I, an American with no organic Australian affiliations, came to be in the field. The book surveys Australian writers from the time of 'late modernity'--welfare-state social democracy from 1945 to 1980---to that of neoliberalism---the global unleashing of the free market and its creative and, mostly, destructive energies from 1980 onward. Its subtitle, "a world not yet dead," refers in the first instance to the declaration by the journalist Rosemary Neill in 2006 that Australian literature as a category was dead. More broadly, it refers to way neoliberalism, with its promotion of inequality between rich and poor,  heartless bimodal division of humanity into winners and losers, the central and the marginal, has shredded what Edmund Husserl called the 'life-world'. Australian writers have been faced with a challenge to re-articulate a vision of affective and compassionate life, and they have done so, albeit in many diverse ways.

If there is a possibility that your community or university library could purchase it, I would really appreciate it--it is even fairly reasonably priced for an academic book.