Under the guidance of project leader Dr Toni Johnson-Woods, 'Pulp Fiction' mapped Australia's popular publishing industry over the twenty years between 1939 and 1959, creating and enhancing records for over 100 authors and cover artists and more then 2000 titles.
(Image credit: detail from the cover of Carter Brown's Walk Softly, Witch, reproduced courtesy of AustLit.)
'World War I in Australian Literary Culture' is a specialist AustLit research project, initiated in 2012 and led by researcher Robert Thomson, that expands and refines the database's coverage of the ways in which the Great War is represented in all forms of storytelling.
As one of the first research projects to be designed on AustLit's new platform, 'World War I in Australian Literary Culture' is supported by richly interactive online exhibitions, which draw out aspects of the war years from professional digger-entertainers to women's magazine fiction, Indigenous soldiers to wartime songs.
(Image credit: George Washington Lambert's 'Anzac, the landing 1915', c.1920-1922. Reproduced via Wikimedia Commons.)
Under construction in 2017 and built collaboratively by The University of Queensland and the University of New England, with support from the Ian Potter Foundation, the AustLit Australian Drama Archive aims to digitise a collection of Australian plays from the twentieth century and bring them to life again through publication, production, and new research.
Plays drawn from the Hanger Collection at UQ and the Campbell Howard Collection are UNE will be progressively digitised and made available through AustLit.
(Image credit: section of Alfred Gilbert's 'Comedy and Tragedy', 1891. Reproduced via Wikimedia Commons.)
Researched, compiled, and written by Dr Catriona Mills and Geoffrey Hondroudakis, Beyond Goggles and Corsets: Australian Steampunk is a unique AustLit research project: a long, richly illustrated essay accompanied by curated reading lists, Beyond Goggles and Corsets identifies and describes Australian-written steampunk works, and sets out the history and thematic concerns of Australian steampunk from the earliest proto-steampunk works to the present day.
(Image credit: Triptych of separate portraits of, from left to right, Amy Johnson, Bell Mullins, and Bessie Coleman. See full image credit.)
Established by Dr Kim Wilkins in 2009, Australian Popular Medievalism demonstrates how strongly Australian popular fiction engages with the medieval, tracing more than 250 popular adult novels, published between 1995 and 2010, that feature Europe in the Middle Ages either as an actual setting or as a source for adapting images and ideas.
From the accompanying peer-reviewed essay:
It is interesting to compare Fradenburg's observations about the Middle Ages with Ken Gelder's about the sets of differences with which literary culture distinguishes literary fiction from popular fiction. Literary fiction is 'complex', popular fiction is 'simple'; literary fiction is about 'real life', popular fiction is 'fantasy'; literary fiction is 'cerebral', popular fiction is 'sensuous'; literary fiction is 'restrained', popular fiction is 'excessive' (19). Popular fiction, like the pre-modern, is irrational and curiously flat, compared to literary fiction which, like the modern, knows itself and can therefore produce objects of cultural value. By this comparison, popular fiction can actually be seen to share a privileged relationship with medievalism.
(Image credit: Edmund Leighton's 'The End of the Song' [Tristian and Isolde], 1902. Reproduced via Wikimedia Commons.)
An AustLit initiative, 'Diversity in Australian Speculative Fiction' is a bibliographical exhibition of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror works that move outside what we think of as 'normative': works that showcase diversity in culture or ethnicity; physical, neurological, and sensate diversity; diversity of sexuality and gender; and religious diversity.
Research and compiled by Dr Catriona Mills from AustLit records, the exhibition is both an overview of diversity in Australian writing and a series of fascinating reading lists.
For subscribers, explore the set of lesson plans that use this exhibition as their basis.
(Image credit: detail from the cover of the Australian edition of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, by Ambelin Kwaymullina.)
Established in 2011, 'Speculations' is a substantial study of Australian popular fiction. Under the leadership of Professor Van Ikin, Dr Toni Johnson-Woods, and Dr Kim Wilkins, AustLit researchers undertook sustained work in enhancing records for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers and works, including film and television.
Where popular fiction has often been overlooked in traditional bibliographies, 'Speculations' helps expand understandings of how, when, where, and in what quantities Australian authors are writing speculative fiction.
The gathering of this content is still ongoing.
(Image credit: details of illustration from Norma K. Hemming's 'Amazons of the Asteroids', originally published in Thrills Incorporated.)
The outcome of Dr Nicole Moore's Australian Research Council Discovery Project, 'Banned in Australia' presents the impact of censorship on reading in Australia between 1901 and 1973. Unlike most of AustLit's research projects, 'Banned in Australia' includes works from all over the world, including Australian authors published overseas, and sets out some 500 works whose import into Australia was banned during the first seventy years of the twentieth century.
'Banned in Australia' is a unique view of censorship and the movement of books into and out of Australia.
(Image: cropped section of the cover image for Penguin's anniversary edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Reproduced courtesy of Penguin's website.)
'The Joseph Furphy Digital Archive' is AustLit's first foray into digital scholarly publishing. Created (and still under construction) by Dr Roger Osborne, the archive aims to provide greater access for more people to the material archive that lies behind Furphy's fiction and poetry.
As noted in the introduction:
Joseph Furphy's position in Australian literature is firmly established. Whether we know it or not, his great work Such is Life (1903) sits on the edge of every conversation or argument about the development of Australian literature, and, occasionally, it wanders to centre stage, demanding to be heard. Such is Life has served those seeking authentic Australian voices and realist depictions of bush life. It has served those who look into its complex narrative to find a proto-modernist text that resists interpretation. And it has served those who challenge, and are challenged by, its discourses of race, gender, and class.
(Image credit: Joseph Furphy's typewriter, photographed by Roger Osborne, Reproduced via the Joseph Furphy Digital Archive.)
Drawing from and expanding research undertaken at Flinder suniversity in 1995 and 1996, 'Australian Literary Responses to "Asia"' is a tool to guide the reader through impressions of Asia through Australian eyes and a resource for subject or region-specific research. Providing a list of novels, plays, poetry, and short stories, the research project covers Asia, North East Asia, South East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Papua New Guinea.
(Image credit: Dutch map of 'Asia Antiqua' by Nicolaus Blankaart, c.1660. Reproduced via Wikimedia Commons.)
Drawing on and expanding a series of bibliographies going back as far 1973, 'Australian Multicultural Writers' provides biographical and bibliographical information about writers who identify with cultural heritages other than Anglo-Celtic.
As Professor Wenche Ommundsen notes in her accompanying essay:
In the context of an increasingly globalised world, multicultural literary traditions play important roles as mediators between local (or national) and global cultural forces. Multicultural Australian writing represents the global within the local; it responds to pressures and change within Australian society and culture, but is also, and increasingly, in tune with global developments such as rapid international communication and travel, postcolonial and diasporic literary traditions and transnational popular culture.
(Image credit: section from a 1765 de l'Isle globe, 'generous in its depiction of the Mississippi River and showing a fictional Northwest passage'. Reproduced from Wikimedia Commons.)
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