Four different publishers have produced series of “classic” Australian children’s novels since 2001. Such series are part of a wider global interest in the history and canon of children’s literature, and offer a particularly national sense of literary history and identity. The classics republished by the four series have all enjoyed some degree of popularity, critical acclaim, or pedagogical use. When book awards, literary historians, critics, and publishers all seem to agree on a canon of Australian children’s literature, it is important to question whether the chosen books are inherently great or if the canon is serving a purpose beyond the literary. This paper reads the selections of classics publishers as a collective and cumulative story of childhood in order to question the persistence of particular visions of Australian culture and identity. Republished classics offer insight into canon-formation and the construction of literary history as well as perpetuating particular definitions of a national culture.


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pp. 28-35
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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