Question 1: What were the different oral traditions that formed the beginnings of Australian Literature? Illustrate with examples.
Ans: Australian literature consited of older forms and translated versions of Aboriginal song sequences or folktales, as well as memoirs, journals, and ballads of early European explorers and settlers. This also comprises relatively formalized works of literature that emerged when writing and printing became more entrenched on the island nation. Much like literature of any other country, it depicts Australia’s emergence into the country we recognize today in various ways.
Much of what we may put in the category of Australian literature from the beginning stages of its development was not what would be called literature in the traditional sense. The Aboriginal peoples of Australia, for example, handed on their oral songs and stories from generation to generation without writing them down. Even when they were documented in English translations, it was with a more anthropological than literary aim. Rather than studying the aesthetic elements of these artefacts, the goal was to understand more about the Aboriginal peoples’ culture and values from a scientific standpoint. Moreover, the documents, memoirs, diaries, and notebooks that are now part of the literary study have not always been intended for this purpose. They included frequently explorers’, administrators’, and settlers’ private or official documents. These works, on the other hand, are essential resource for understanding how the land, conditions, and people of Australia evolved in the minds and imaginations of those who lived or visited the country. They demonstrate how Australian literature was created and the early influences that shaped it.
Ballads and bush songs, which had hitherto been primarily associated with folklore, became part of the literary heritage. Oral ballads and bush songs became more cognizant of their forms, topics, and figures when writers began to nurture and refine them. Patterson, or ‘Banjo,’ is a writer who adheres to this school of thought. Waltzing Matilda, a ballad about a swagman — a travelling agricultural labourer in the Australian outback – has become an unofficial national anthem for many Australians of European heritage.
In Australia, literature evolved and took on many different forms, including the famous local tale, the literary interpretation of the fire. During this formative period, notable short storey authors such as Henry Laws and Barbara Baynton made significant contributions to the innovation and implementation of this form. Their work captures aspects of the emergence of Australian Bush and people cultural mythology. During the impact of construction, the Erardships and energy of European settlers and bush people may be seen in their effort. It was only logical that the writers, who were mostly British settlers, would apply the values and conventions of British literature to their work at this early period of development. Early Australian writing was often gazing over its shoulder towards England in this way. This quickly became a subject of contention, since some writers believed that the best course for writings was to follow and retain British literary traditions. Many believed that because Australia was so unlike to England, it should sever its ties with the mother country and forge its own national identity, which should be represented in Australian literature.
In Australia, like in most of the rest of the English-speaking world, poetry was more popular in the first half of the twentieth century, while the novel rose to popularity in the second. Judith Wright and A.D. Hope were classic characters in Australian poetry during its golden age. Patrick White, the Nobel Prize winner from Australia, is undoubtedly the best and most learned of the country’s authors. Their literature began to shift away from both a slavish copy of European styles and a concentration on the Bush’s people and customs. The cities of modern Australia began to appear more prominently in their work. As the face of the Australian nation began to shift, so did the literature of the country. Writers such as Kath Walker, Mudrooroo, Kevin Gilbert, and Sally Morgan have brought Aboriginal poetry, theatre, and tales to the fore. There has also been an increase in the popularity of autobiographies, biographies, and life tales. The varied perspectives heard in the world of Australian literature mirror the diversity that is being pushed on a political level. More women, Aborigines, and migrants are joining the fascinating confluence that is Australian writing today.