Post-War New Zealand Literary Critique
For most of the 20th century literature and criticism of literature functioned as central engines of cultural change across the western world. This was especially the case in ex-colonial societies like New Zealand where writers and intellectuals frequently expressed a desire to create sophisticated local cultures which could compete with the foundation societies in Europe. Between 1940 and 1984 New Zealand writers and intellectuals developed a mode of literary criticism which this essay refers to as ‘Literary Critique’ for this very reason. In the absence of well established cultural traditions and a sense that they had a duty to import and indigenise western intellectual thought in order to further the evolution of New Zealand culture, a series of writers wrote often scathing critiques of their culture, using literature as their point of entry. Post- War New Zealand Literary Critique stands as evidence of a provincial, masculine, and angry intellectual culture.
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