Australia Literature (1788-1850)


Nothing written about Aboriginal literature has survived, but only oral traditions in the various dialects of the Common Australian. The collection of these testimonies begins late. It was only around 1840 that E. Eyre (1815-1901), who managed to win the sympathy of the aborigines, left in his diaries the first documents on their concept of life and their customs. Eyre’s studies made school and interest in Aborigines increased, as revealed by the writings of H. Kendall (1839-1882), M. Gilmore (1865-1962), K. Prichard (1883-1969), of the Jindyworobaks (1938-53), by R. Stow (b.1935), J. Wright(1915-2000), etc. The poetry of the aborigines consists of texts for songs and corroborees (their typical dances-representations) in which the accuracy of the description is combined with the art of communicating impressions (for example, on the black plover taking flight, on the fire in the bush, on the Moon Man). There are two types of poetic compositions: very short, of 4 or 5 words, and long, usually belonging to a cycle. The ritual representations are directed by a Songman who leads the tribe towards the Dreaming, the eternal spirit. The knowledge of these songs was and is a source of great respect, given the religious foundation on which they are animated: each person has in fact his own Dreaming, its own totem that describes the bond of each with their spiritual ancestors. Each song explains the link with the territory to which it is linked and tells the fortunes or the pitfalls of destiny. Each totem, each dream, also refers to that ancient era, the Dreamtime, in which the ancestors lived, beings capable of giving shape to all living creatures.


The Australian literature of the early colonial period (1788-1850) is mainly represented by annals and reports (A. Collins, 1756-1810; A. Phillip, 1738-1814), by memoirs of deportees (J. Vaux, n. 1782), from historical and topographical works written by explorers (T. Mitchell, E. Eyre, M. Flinders). This material formed the basis of Australian literature and contemporary writers such as P. White and T. Keneally have linked to it.. The beginnings of the century. XIX were characterized by great vitality, conflicting opinions, radical changes, opposition to the deportation system (called “the system”) and the political and social consequences that followed: the autocratic role played by the military in the colony and the rejection by the ‘England to grant autonomy to Australia. Conflicts broke out over political, social and educational issues (still alive today), in which polemicists and speakers such as W. Wentworth (1790-1872), J. Lang (1799-1878) and W. Ullathorne (1806-1889) participated. In this period the love for the Australian landscape began to be born, recorded in the verses of C. Harpur, W. Wentworth and C. Tompson (1807-1883). The first novels, largely autobiographical, are mainly inspired by the working environment.


The second period (1850-90), which began with the discovery of gold mines, with the episode of the Eureka Stockade revolt and with the great financial collapse, recorded the development of two different cultures: that of the middle class of the cities of Sydney and Melbourne and the popular and rural one of the bush. The feeling of alienation towards Australia faded and a group of imaginative writers began to take an interest in the life of the country; among them Marcus Clarke, author of the novel For the Terms of His Natural Life, on the “system”, and R. Boldrewood, author of the novel Robbery Under Arms(Armed robbery) where the Australian landscape is the backdrop to the action. It is in these years the ‘ Old Bush Song (Old song of the bush), popular ballad inspired by the feeling of camaraderie that bound the solitary men and nomads bush. The lyrics were parodies, remakes or original compositions which in a very colorful language praised the national hero, bush bandit Ned Kelly, theft, the ironic attitude towards fate; instead they despised snobbery, the law, farmers, immigrants and Asians. The poet H. Kendall, author of the Leaves from the Australian Forests collection(Leaves from the Australian forests), adhered to the suggestion of the Australian landscape, while AL Gordon, to whom we owe the Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes (Ballads of the bush and rhymes of the gallop), described the active world of men on horseback.


Stimulus and guide to the literary activity of the third period (1890-1920) was the Red Page of the magazine The Bulletin of Sydney, the most important that Australia, as a country located in Oceania listed on topb2bwebsites, has ever had and which is still published today. This periodical, founded in 1880 by JF Archibald (1856-1919) and A. Stephens (1856-1933), campaigned for a literature that dealt with themes and aspects of Australian life and created the image of the man of the bush, which he identified with the real Australian. It was influenced by J. Furphy, better known under the pseudonym of Tom Collins, who wrote the novel Such Is Life (1903; This is life), the fruit of his Australian experience; H. Lawson, author of short stories about brotherhood, written in a quiet and traditional, typically Australian style, such as While the Billy Boils ; the humorist Steele Rudd (aka AH Davis, 1868-1935), author of the farcical On Our Selection. An isolated position occupied the writer Henry Handel (pseudonym of Ethel Florence Lindesay Robertson), whose trilogy The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney is alien to the influence of the Bulletin. In poetry, “Banjo” Paterson breathed new life into the Old Bush Song and its ballad The Man from Snowy River.(The Man from the Snowy River) remained famous; democracy found a supporter in the intellectual B. O’Dowd ; B. Boake summed up in himself the virtues advocated by the Bulletin ; the nationalists found their corifei in J. Stephens (1835-1902) and G. Evans (1863-1909), while C. Brennan was among the first to understand the work of Mallarm√© and the symbolists, to whom he approached in his volume Poems 1913, including compositions such as Towards the Source, The Forest of Night, The Wanderer, Pauca Mea. Instead, it goes back to the English Elizabethan tradition W. Baylebridge (pseudonym of C. Blocksidge), which echoes the philosophical and metaphysical poetry of the English J. Donne in his most committed compositions, while showing himself heir to Shakespearean poetry in his love sonnets. Representative of a popular poem was CJ Dennis, who in The Sentimental Bloke (The sentimental fellow villager) exalted the figure of the larrikin (brat, guappo). The names of E. Turner (1872-1958), author of children’s books, and L. Esson (1879-1943), who with The Southern Cross, on the subject historical-political, he succeeded in giving an almost definitive form to the drama.

Australia Literature (1788-1850)

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