Shirley Hazzard’s Australia: Belated Reading and Cultural Mobility


  • Brigitta Olubas University of New South Wales


Shirley Hazzard, expatriate writing, cosmopolitanism, Cold War literature, humanism


This essay examines Shirley Hazzard’s representation of and reception in Australia by returning to her 1984 Boyer Lectures, arguing that from the perspective of twenty-five years hindsight, they provide a useful contribution to recent conversations about the critical location of Australian literary culture in international contexts, including in particular, the cosmopolitan. In attending to the operations of time and space in Hazzard’s account of her contemporary world, this ‘delayed’ reading of the lectures provides for a more complex understanding of her significance in the contemporary field of Australian literary studies, arguing that in its striking presentation of Cold War locations and events, Hazzard’s work stages a decided move away from the specifically colonial frames that organise Australian cosmopolitanism, and that in this, her work generates a distinctive form of cosmopolitan cultural mobility, and as a consequence a distinctive perspective on Australia.

Author Biography

Brigitta Olubas, University of New South Wales

Senior Lecturer, School of English, Media & Performing Arts, UNSW