Literature, History and Literary History: Perspectives on the Nineteenth Century in Australia


  • Brian Kiernan


So   wrote G. B Barton, Reader in English at the University of Sydney, in the   introduction to his Literature in New South Wales (1866).   This  and   his critical anthology, The Poets and Prose Writers of New South Wales (also   1866), were the first books on Australian literature. Although Barton   recorded much valuable bibliographical information, he did not provide any   systematic review along the lines he suggests in the above passage; however,   his ideal of what literary history ought to provide comprehends the   intentions of many who were to follow him with their accounts of the 'growth   of letters' in this country.