Beginning in the last third of the twentieth century, Australian literary and cultural studies underwent a profound transformation to become an important testing ground of new ideas and theories. How do Australian cultural products project a sense of the nation today? How do Australian writers, artists, and film directors imagine the Australian heritage and configure its place in a larger world that extends beyond Australia's shores?
Ranging from the country's colonial beginnings to its more globally oriented present, the nineteen essays by distinguished scholars working on the cutting edge of the field present a multi-faceted view of the vast land down under. A central theme is the relation of cultural products to nature and history. Issues explored include problems of race and gender, colonialism and postcolonialism, individual and national identity, subjective experience and international connections. Among others, the essays treat major authors such as Peter Carey, David Malouf, and Judith Wright.