The Settler Colonial Farm Novel in Australia

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This essay considers the representation of the farm in Australian fiction in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In particular, the family farm forms an image that is close to the heart of a settler-colonial nation, and the image of this farm is also intimately connected with the concept of the pioneer. The particular argument in this essay is that while stations have been central to the literary representation of rural Australia, the depiction of farms has been far less prominent. The main focus of this essay is on novels because the novel serves as a global comparator; in particular, the turn of the last century produced an outpouring of farm novels in the mid-west of the United States and the prairies of Canada, as well as strong traditions in both English and Afrikaans South Africa. By comparison with these two regions, there is a relative absence of farm novels in the corresponding period in Australia. As well as asserting this absence, this essay examines a number of material factors that are likely to have influenced the distinct trajectory that Australia took in relation to rural fiction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-212
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


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