April 14

True Words

The most steadfast tradition of Australia's cultural establishment is its resolve to forget the recent past,“ writes Nicholas Rothwell in his introduction to the new edition of David Ireland’s prizewinning 1976 novel, The Glass Canoe, to be published by Text Publishing in May 2012.

If there are achievements, dishonour them; if there are masterworks, neglect them, consign them to some discreet scrap heap of obscurity.

“The past can make people uncomfortable: many of those who survive from that strange place know more than us; they have seen more; their perspectives, most alarmingly, are different, and cast doubt on the universal validity of our own.”

While Nicholas Rothwell is referring to the arts, his comments have application to the elites attitude to our heritage, and above all the Crown and our Flag.

His hopes for a revival of interest in David Ireland could already apply to the resurgence of interest and appreciation in the Crown and our Flag.

Sometimes, though more rarely, those vanished names return, like comets swinging back into proximity with the sun, their magnitude increasing as their approach draws nearer and the tail of blazing light behind them lengthens. Is the time at hand for the reappearance of the Ireland comet?  Can he be assigned a place in the thin firmament of fixed Australian literary stars?”


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