Review: Christopher Lee – Turning the Century – Writing of the 1890s

Turning the Century – Writing of the 1890s
Christopher Lee (editor)

‘Turning the Century’ is a relatively comprehensive collection of Australian authors and poets that were writing, surprisingly enough, in the 1890s. This period of time was rich in Australian literature, and played a huge part in the development of Australia. Hit the jump for more details…

4658255This is another book in keeping with my literature major, and it’s not something I would normally read. I haven’t read all the stories and poems in the collection, and I probably never will. That being said, some of the things I have read are great examples of their type. If you want to read a really good compendium of works from this timeperiod, concerning the imminent Federation of Australia, go for it!

Christopher Lee has left out some great short stories according to my study guide, as these were included in a reader associated with the unit. However, if you suddenly discover you love one of the authors of this collection in particular, you will find that many of the works are free online. I found this somewhat irritating once I had bought the book (it was a little expensive compared to my usual mass market paperback purchases).

Poetry is not normally my type of thing, and the works contained in this book are no exception to that. I have written an essay on ‘The Man from Snowy River’ and ‘The Women of the West’, and analysing those two works was quite easy, compared to some of the more obtuse poetry in the book.

This probably fits a niche market – those who love Australian literature, and those that have to study it for a major! Also, some of the poems have great rhythm, so if you’re looking to become a poet, I’d suggest perhaps looking at some of these, particularly ‘The Man from Snowy River’, if you haven’t before for some inspiration and a great example of style.

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