'In Radical Cousins (1976), Joseph Jones conclusively demonstrates, within a broader project, affinities between American 'transcendentalist' literature and much colonial Australian verse: Harpur, Gay and O'Dowd, for example, are considered in relation to Emerson and Whitman. Jones reaffirms the 'American' circumstantial particularity of his 'transcendentalism', yet rightly insists also on derivative elements of its metaphysic and poetic, particularly from Coleridge and Carlyle, and from German Romanticism. The present paper will consider the colonial authors and several other manifestations of Australian 'transcendentalism' in relation to counterparts within the European diaspora, particularly American, and will discuss various contextual responses to the shared war against utilitarianism. Authors to be discussed to whom Jones gives little attention include Marcus Clarke, Catherine Spence and Ada Cambridge, as well as the painters Streeton and Roberts and from the early twentieth century, Elioth Gruner.
The challenges to Australian literary historiography presented by Jones's insights have been generally neglected. This paper will attempt to extend his approach by suggesting a frame of reference which individuates colonial Australian 'transcendentalism' by relating its common elements to different but pertinent colonial circumstances (both locally and globally conditioned) concerning, for example, 'nature', landscape and ecology; industrialism and urban settlement; philosophical idealism and Romantic theory. Questions will be raised concerning literary history, and also its relationship to nationalism: for example, why is 'transcendentalism' more prominent in American literary historiography than in its Australian counterpart, especially since its widespread significance can so readily and obviously be perceived? Why, indeed, is it erased or simply not seen? Why do discourses of literary nationalism in America focus on 'transcendentalism' whereas in Australia it is marginalized or excluded? What is the Australian colonial relationship, if any, between literary idealism and social improvement or transformation, in comparison with the social optimism and practical activism promoted by American literary transcendentalism?' (Author's abstract).
'Numerous commentators have noted affinities between Australia and America. These observations differ in tone and focus but they are all strongly indicative of a perceived connection between two countries in the 'new' world, former colonies of an imperial power. They are suggestive of literary connections that have never been fully documented or analysed. Studies of links between Australia and England exist, pitched at both the academic and the general audience. But apart from several articles by Laurie Hergenhan, and his 1995 biography of Clinton Hartley Grattan, Australian and American literary connections have been, until recently, largely unexplored.
The first large-scale, systematic examination of the area is currently in progress through David Carter's 2006 ARC-funded research project 'America Publishes Australia: Australian Books and American Publishers, 1890-2005'. If there is a commonality to be found in the history of publishing and reception of Australian literature in America it should emerge from David Carter's study, but I suspect that there will also be evidence of a significant number of unique situations and circumstances which defy generalisation. In this paper I will examine some individual cases of Americans whose connections with Australian literary culture have been of significant and lasting importance, in particular Clinton Hartley Grattan and William Warder Norton' (Author's abstract).
'This essay will discuss both what the Australian-American cultural relationship has been built upon, and why that transpacific architecture has not been more foregrounded. It begins by focusing on Americans who had transient relationships with Australia, but ones that yet impacted on their careers and were emblematic of patterns in the transpacific relationship. The traffic between the US and Australia these individuals represent indicates that beneath formal notice there exists a patchwork of encounters ramified in such a way as to provide a base for later criss-crossings. Yet, in each case, fissures are also revealed - 'missed appointments' - that suggest why the potential transpacific 'rendezvous with destiny' was never actualised in the era where that above phrase had recent resonance.
Three of these Americans—Arlin Turner, John Hope Franklin, and Constance Helmericks--were from the West or South, and the fourth, James Michener, though from the East, early evinced an interest in parts of his country and the world beyond the Eurocentric orientation imposed on privileged Americans. The paper will also look at Margaret Mead and the entire idea of "Australasia" with which she was associated to diagnose patterns of racial and cultural images conveyed, or misconveyed, in the trans-Pacific process.' (Author's abstract).
'I want to suggest in this essay something unremarkable, in the sense that it has already been remarked upon quite a lot: that both American and Australian poetry engages with the East in significant ways...With the rise of postcolonial studies, we have learned a good deal about the intersections of history, culture, power and perception. This has become not so much a field of study as a veritable Outback of study, except it isn't Outback at all: it's front and centre. But perhaps because the point is so obvious to us now we might gain something by looking at it afresh, or at least again.
My interest here, however, is not primarily in postcolonial perspectives or orientalism or subaltern studies or other similar undertakings, which typically analyse structures of dominance and resistance and illuminate ideological implications and mystifications. Indeed, the superabundance of such studies is already in excess of anything I could add. Nor am I considering the wealth of literary works that constitute Asian-American or Asian-Australian literature. My perspective is more limited, and perhaps...unremarkable. I simply want to suggest that the East so-called has also functioned as generative force - whether as provocation or inspiration - for certain poets in Australia and America, beginning in the nineteenth century and especially recently, and that there are some unusual features to this phenomenon worthy of inspection. I am going to note several examples of such poets and then say something about possible conclusions we might draw as we look to the future.' (pp. 107-108)
'After a year in New York in 1935-1936, Christina Stead commented that "the whole spirit of New York is opposed to the creative mind". Yet America and Americans became the matter of five of her subsequent novels. After a leftwing Australian background and a number of years in socialist milieus in London and Paris, Stead was an intriguing reader of 1940s America. In her late American work, I'm Dying Laughing (begun 1949, published 1986), Stead became that most precarious of things - a leftwing critic of the Left during the early Cold War. Desire for success and the accompanying fear of failure are thematised by Stead as "the American dilemma" - the contradictory relationship between collective action and individual survival at the heart of American national identity that she saw as no less forceful and tragic for many on the Left.' (Author's abstract)
'There has been no comprehensive treatment of American influence on Australian English-teaching in high schools and universities prior to the Second World War. Its retrospective invisibility is a consequence, not of its real absence, but of the colonial publishing arrangements that made it difficult or impossible to import American educational books into Australia during that period.
This paper will explore two of the ways in which, despite these restrictions, American ideas and practices of literary criticism did manage to penetrate Australian English teaching before the Second World War. One of these was by the importing of American authors and texts in British imprints. British publishers like Harraps were particularly active in this area: I estimate that something like 40% of their English education list, 1901-1930, comprised American-authored books, co-published in the US by D.C. Heath, Thomas Crowell, Frederick Stokes, Houghton-Mifflin and others. The activities of the Australasian Publishing Company, established as a distribution agency by Harraps in 1916 in collaboration with Houghton-Mifflin and Constable, were especially relevant in this regard.
Other, more individual channels of influence were important too: Ernest Moll, for example, an Adelaide-born scholar and poet, graduated from Harvard, and spent his whole academic career lecturing at the University of Oregon, where he practised and wrote about literary appreciation (in the formal American sense). He also visited Australia regularly, including a two-year stint at the Sydney Teachers' College in 1939- 40, arranged by the then head of English George Mackaness. My conclusions will be based on an inspection of the large collection of correspondence between Harrap and Houghton-Mifflin at Harvard University, interviews with former employees of Harraps and of the Australasian Publishing Company, and the Ernest Moll Papers in the NLA.' (Author's abstract)
'This chapter focuses on the period from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s, a watershed period in Australia-US literary relations, which saw the publication in the US of Australian novelists Peter Carey, David Malouf, Jessica Anderson, Thea Astley, Elizabeth Jolley, Helen Garner, Tim Winton and Beverley Farmer among others, but which was also crossed by tensions and contradictions which led to confusion, disappointment, lost opportunities, and sometimes the outright rejection of important Australian authors and their books. Among these tensions, we look at three in particular: the promising but limited role played by the multinational publisher (in this case Penguin Books) offering Australian titles through its US affiliate (Viking Penguin); the intervention by literary agents in Australia - US literary publishing relations; and the difference in values between the two cultures, which served to hinder the appreciation of important works of Australian writing.' (p. 309)
'The University of Queensland Press was transformed from a merely scholarly into a creative independent Australian publisher partly through the agency of the American publisher Frank Thompson. In the explosive days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and with Australians' complex fascination with United States, Thompson embodied the democratic challenge to the old British dominated regime on campus and in publishing circles. This paper will explore pivotal books published by UQP notably Thomas Shapcott's Contemporary American and Australian Poetry in 1976; UQP's development of the American market with the distribution of UQP literary fiction and the establishment of an American office; and co-publishing with American publishers and editing Australian books for American readers in a different hemisphere. Thompson's own assessment of his successes and failures will be contextualised in terms of political developments and those issues long associated with Australian literature - environmental representation and expatriatism.' (Author's abstract)
We are happy... see this page