Contains an afterword to The Dream and the Reality, an unpublished literary work by John McLaren on the study of the realist tradition in Australian fiction. The purpose of McLaren’s study was to explore the attitude of Australians to their country which has always been ambiguous and show how some Australian fiction writers reacted to this particular experience and environment, how they have treated the dream and how they have dealt with reality. Following the first settlers’ conquest of the Australian continent, not only was the social structure which underlies European culture partly dissolved and then set in new moulds, but the visible symbols of man's long growth into the rhythms of the country side, and the monuments which he built within it to embody his ideals, were missing. So just as the settlers had to evolve new forms of agriculture, the writers have had to evolve new myths and legends which make sense of the new world
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