In, published in 1985, writer and editor Geoffrey Dutton selected and reviewed almost one hundred classic Australian books.
Dutton chose only one book from each author.
As Mr. Dutton notes in his book, the definition of 'classic' is relevant to both time and place. "There are" he says, "many books in each country's literature that are cherished as classics in their homeland but little known elsewhere."
Then, too, Australia has only had just over two hundred years to accumulate a body of literature.
Miles Franklin, an author included in Dutton's selection, wrote in a foreword to The Australian Novel, edited by Colin Roderick, "People settling in new lands need novels and dramas closely concerned with their own time, place and community to support and lighten the great classics and world masterpieces in literature. Certain stories relate to our own soil, and when such works find universal acceptance, they still retain greater significance for the people of their own origin than for other readers by imparting a comforting glow which springs from the intimacy of home."
It goes without saying, that many of the writers listed here were not born in Australia. The early explorers, for example, came mostly from England. Nevertheless, for Australians, the themes covered in many of the following works impart that "warm glow" to which Ms Franklin alludes.
Jessica ANDERSON, The ImpersonatorsThea ASTLEY, The Slow Natives
Murray BAIL, HomesicknessE J BANFIELD, The Confessions of a BeachcomberC E W BEAN, The Story of ANZACLouis BECKE, By Reef and PalmGeoffrey BLAINEY, The Tyranny of DistanceRolf BOLDREWOOD, Robbery Under ArmsMartin BOYD, Lucinda BrayfordRobin BOYD, The Australian UglinessRussell BRADDON, The Naked IslandMary Grant BRUCE, A Little Bush Maid
CADDIE, Caddie: The Autobiography of a Sydney BarmaidRaffaello CARBONI, The Eureka StockadePeter CAREY, BlissDavid CARNEGIE, Spinifex and SandD E CHARLWOOD, All the Green YearManning CLARK, A History of Australia, Vol. IV.Marcus CLARKE, For the Term of his Natural LifeTom COLLINS (Joseph FURPHY), Such is LifeKenneth COOK, Wake in FrightNino CULOTTA, They're a Wierd Mob
Dymphna CUSACK and Florence JAMES, Come in SpinnerEleanor DARK, The Timeless LandFrank Dalby DAVISON, Man-ShyMary DURACK, Kings in Grass Castles
M Barnard ELDERSHAW, A House is BuiltSumner Locke ELLIOTT, Careful, He Might Hear YouH V EVATT, Rum RebellionEdward John EYRE, Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central Australia
A B FACEY, A Fortunate LifeGeorge FARWELL, Squatter's CastleDavid FOSTER, MoonliteMiles FRANKLIN, My Brilliant Career
Nene GARE, The Fringe DwellersHelen GARNER, Monkey GripMay GIBBS, The Adventures of Snugglepot and CuddlepieErnest GILES, Australia Twice TraversedMrs Aeneas GUNN, We of the Never Never
Frank HARDY, Power Without GloryWilliam Gosse HAY, The Escape of the Notorious Sir William HeansShirley HAZZARD, The Transit of VenusRachel HENNING, The Letters of Rachel HenningXavier HERBERT, CapricorniaDonald HORNE, The Lucky CountryTom HUNGERFORD, The Ridge and the River
Ion L IDRIESS, Flynn of the InlandDavid IRELAND, The Unknown Industrial Prisoner
Colin JOHNSON, Wild Cat FallingGeorge JOHNSTON, My Brother Jack
Thomas KENEALLY, The Chant of Jimmie BlacksmithChristopher KOCH, The Year of Living Dangerously
Eve LANGLEY, The Pea-pickersHenry LAWSON, Joe Wilson and his MatesJoan LINDSAY, Picnic at Hanging RockNorman LINDSAY, The Magic PuddingLennie LOWER, Here's Luck
David MALOUF, An Imaginary LifeFrederic MANNING, Her Privates We (The Middle Parts of Fortune)Peter MATHERS, TrapDouglas MAWSON, The Home of the BlizzardRoger McDONALD, 1915Jack McLAREN, My Crowded SolitudeAlan MOOREHEAD, Cooper's CreekFrank MOORHOUSE, The Americans, Baby
D'Arcy NILAND, The Shiralee
Ruth PARK, The Harp in the SouthCyril PEARL, Wild Men of SydneyEthel PEDLEY, Dot and the KangarooBrian PENTON, LandtakersHal PORTER, The Watcher on the Cast-Iron BalconyKatharine Sussanah PRITCHARD, Coonardoo
Francis RATCLIFFE, Flying Fox and Drifting SandHenry Handel RICHARDSON, The Fortunes of Richard MahonyEric ROLLS, They All Ran WildTom RONAN, Vision SplendidSteele RUDD, On Our SelectionOlaf RUHEN, Naked Under Capricorn
Vincent SERVENTY, DryandraIvan SOUTHALL, Ash RoadChristina STEAD, The Man Who Loved ChildrenLouis STONE, JohahRandolph STOW, To the IslandsHugh STRETTON, Ideas for Australian CitiesCharles STURT, Two Expeditions into the Interior of Southern Australia, 1828-31
Watkin TENCH, A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson/A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany BayKylie TENNANT, The BattlersColin THIELE, Storm BoyJames TUCKER, Ralph RashleighEthel TURNER, Seven Little Australians
Arthur W UPFIELD, Man of Two Tribes
S A WAKEFIELD, Bottersnikes and GumblesRussell WARD, The Australian LegendJudah WATEN, Alien SonMyrtle Rose WHITE, No Roads Go ByPatrick WHITE, VossPatricia WRIGHTSON, The Nargun and the Stars
Titles marked in red are books that I've read, while those in blue are books that I've seen the movie or TV series only.
This post is part of my preparations for November.
I hope you can join us.
Happy reading mate!