Thursday, June 23, 2016

An important new survey of aspects of NZ literary history

Here's a new reference book that is worth taking a look at:

 A History of New Zealand Literature

Edited by Mark Williams
Cambridge University Press 2016
ISBN 9781107085350

 From the publisher's website:

 "A History of New Zealand Literature traces the genealogy of New Zealand literature from its first imaginings by Europeans in the eighteenth century. Beginning with a comprehensive introduction that charts the growth of, and challenges to, a nationalist literary tradition, the essays in this History illuminate the cultural and political intricacies of New Zealand literature, surveying the multilayered verse, fiction and drama of such diverse writers as Katherine Mansfield, Allen Curnow, Frank Sargeson, Janet Frame, Keri Hulme, Witi Ihimaera and Patricia Grace. Written by a host of leading scholars, this History devotes special attention to the lasting significance of colonialism, biculturalism and multiculturalism in New Zealand literature. A History of New Zealand Literature is of pivotal importance to the development of New Zealand writing and will serve as an invaluable reference for specialists and students alike."

 I have had a quick look at this book at my local library and it does look very good.

The chapter 'Janet Frame: Myths of Authorship' was written by Marc Delrez who is easily the smartest scholar currently writing about Frame. I don't agree with everything he says (when I can understand it!) but at least I can see that he is not stupid enough to fall for the biographical fallacy that has seduced a few of the weaker-minded Frame scholars over the years.

Many other interesting chapters in the ToC and many other reliable names of contributors too, indicate a valuable addition to the literature. Am looking forward to reading more.

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