The biggest body of Australian literary scholarship is now available online for the first time as The Australian National University (ANU) has become home to the journal Australian Literary Studies (ALS).
Dr Julieanne Lamond of the ANU School of Literature Languages & Linguistics, who has become just the third editor in the journal’s 53 year history, said the publication has had a major influence on the Australian literature landscape.
“It’s had a huge impact on Australian literary life. If people aren’t studying Australian writers, they aren’t set on syllabuses, people don’t encounter them and they don’t stay in print,” Dr Lamond said.
She said the ALS published some of the earliest academic scholarship on works by writers like Les Murray, Gwen Harwood, Tom Keneally and Robert Drewe.
“I think it’s really made a difference to some of those contemporary writers to get them from being a writer in the marketplace to one who’s in a position to be widely recognised and published overseas,” she said.
“The first academic essay on Oodgeroo by Kath Walker was published in ALS in 1978, and the 1992 special issue on her work has been incredibly influential, so ALS has made a real difference to the study of Aboriginal literature in Australia, too.”
The ALS was in part the brainchild of Australian poet A D Hope who worked at ANU as an English Professor until his retirement in 1968.
Dr Lamond said the new focus of the publication is to provide access to the journal’s entire back catalogue, which comprises more than 1,000 essays.
“Going digital is really important. Until now most of our content has only been available by going to the library and photocopying. Students don’t do that anymore,” she said.
“This will have a huge impact on the access to these essays. There are lots of scholars overseas who are interested in Australian literature and they just can’t get the material.”
The new Australian Literary Studies
will be launched
by the Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Paul Pickering, on Thursday 18 February at 5pm, in the Humanities Conference room in the A D Hope Building, ANU.