Published by Auckland University Press, 1995, 335 pages.
Over the last three decades New Zealand literature has changed radically as New Zealand has become more diverse and more independent of its colonial origins. In place of a small literary culture—nationalist, realist, Pakeha and masculine in outlook—we now find a variety of styles, kinds, voices. In response to these changes, writing about New Zealand literature has also changed. Since the mid 1980s, criticism in New Zealand has sought to come to terms with feminism, culture studies, postmodernism, post-colonialism indigenous writing. This book collects new essays by writers and critics who have taken part in this process of assimilation and debate. The aim is not to announce a new orthodoxy or to impose some imported critical methodology on local writing. Rather the book shows how some well-known New Zealand authors—Mansfield, Sargeson, Hyde, Frame—can be read and reinterpreted from a number of critical perspectives and how different types of writing can be freshly reconsidered. The essays are lively, various, challenging. They re-examine New Zealand's past, question long-held assumptions, analyze the contemporary scene, and indicate new directions.