Cultural Transmission and Australian Literature: 1788-1998


  • Brian Kiernan


Although   Dr Johnson had died four years before the First Fleet arrived, his loyal   Boswell was still alive, as was Edward Gibbon, the author of The Decline and   Fall of the Roman Empire. So also were many others whose names suggest that,   for English literary culture, the later eighteenth century was an age (like   all ages) of transition. Among these were James 'Ossian' McPherson, whose   liberal 'translations' from the Gaelic in the 1770s had aroused curiosity   about a mysteriously remote, heroic past, and Bishop Percy, whose Reliques of   Ancient British Poetry (1765) had stimulated a revival of traditional popular   forms.