Review by Choice Review

Most academic libraries own Dictionary of Literary Biography. Some volumes meet topical need or cover common research interests (although they may duplicate other reference books), but others are specialized and may be the only titles treating their topic. Among the latter is the four-part Australian series, sharing the characteristics of other DLB titles: roughly 35 long essays on prominent writers with biobibliographic information and pertinent illustrations. The first volume (DLB 230) covered 1788-1914, the period from European settlement to WW I, while this one deals with the era when Australia developed a distinctive nationhood as the former colonies began to coalesce. For most Americans, Patrick White, a Nobel Prize winner, will be the leading author, but many others deserve attention--e.g., Christina Stead, Norman Lindsay, Judith Wright. Lindsay is known from his classic children's book The Magic Pudding and the film Sirens. Stead wrote novels of social protest and powerful satire that will especially interest Americans--she wrote many of them when in the US as an expatriate, 1937-47. Wright's poetry of land and love has social relevance. Samuels (Univ. of Sydney) is herself an expert on Stead and has ably edited the first two Australian volumes and has chosen experts as contributors. The two forthcoming volumes (1950-75, 1975-2000) will be welcome. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General and academic readers. D. S. Azzolina University of Pennsylvania

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