Australian Aboriginal literature, once relegated to the margins of Australian literary studies, now receives both national and international attention. Not only has the number of published texts by contemporary Australian Aboriginals risen sharply, but scholars and publishers have also recently begun recovering earlier published and unpublished Indigenous works. Writing by Australian Aboriginals is making a decisive impression in fiction, autobiography, biography, poetry, film, drama, and music, and has recently been anthologized in Oceania and North America.
Until now, however, there has been no comprehensive critical companion that contextualizes the Aboriginal canon for scholars, researchers, students, and general readers. This international collection of eleven original essays fills this gap by discussing crucial aspects of Australian Aboriginal literature and tracing the development of Aboriginal literacy from the oral tradition up until today, contextualizing the work of Aboriginal artists and writers and exploring aspects of Aboriginal life writing such as obstacles toward publishing, questions of editorial control (or the lack thereof), intergenerational and interracial collaborations combining oral history and life writing, and the pros and cons of translation into European languages.
Contributors: Katrin Althans, Maryrose Casey, Danica Cerce, Stuart Cooke, Paula Anca Farca, Michael R. Griffiths, Oliver Haag, Martina Horakova, Jennifer Jones, Nicholas Jose, Andrew King, Jeanine Leane, Theodore F. Sheckels, Belinda Wheeler.
Belinda Wheeler is Assistant Professor of English at Paine College, Augusta, Georgia.
In its root meaning, to be a companion is to share bread, the source and sustenance of life, and to so nurture friendship, kinship, and loyalty. Belinda Wheeler's A Companion to Australian Aboriginal Literature
presents a wealth of companionable writing on Aboriginal literature, which is today perhaps the most recently emerged English language literary canon, one that is all the more compelling for being an expression of the oldest surviving human culture on the planet. The essays in this volume offer new and compelling readings of Aboriginal fiction, poetry, and plays, examining popular subgenres and themes such as songpoems, life writing, humor, young adult fiction, Aboriginal cinema, and music, as well as the translation of Aboriginal literature for a growing world readership. It provides both scholars and the general reader with a range of fresh, well-researched, and engagingly written essays on the best Aboriginal writing and its social, political, and cultural dimensions. I highly recommend this book. - Dr. Peter Minter, University of Sydney