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Made in England
Australia's British inheritance
In Made in England: Australia's British Inheritance, David Malouf looks at Australia's bond with Britain and wonders whether it wasn't the Mother Country which did most of the giving.
This is an essay which presents British civilisation, the civilisation of Shakespeare and the Enlightenment and the Westminster system, as the irreducible ground on which any Australian achievement is based. Britain has always been the tolerant parent, and an older Australia could be both intensely patriotic and see itself as what it was, a transplantation of Britain. This relationship did not exclude America but it made for a sometimes complicated threesome of nations.
This is a brilliant, deeply meditated essay by one of our finest writers about the traditions that shaped Australia and which connect it to one of the mightier traditions in world history.
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Made in England is ... a case of one of Australia's most eminent novelists allowing himself to imagine, and by imagining to analyse, the hopes and glories, once and future, that were part of this new Britannia.
David Malouf is that old fashioned phenomenon, a cultivated man.
[An] infinitely rich account of Australian history, speech and social ways … a deft and instructive rebuttal of any reductive, self-interested assertions about identity and nationality.
The essay has all the qualities we’d expect from the author – sensuous memory, intelligence, elegance, and a bit of a Shakespeherian rag.
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