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Title: Stories and Prose
Contributor(s): Ryan, John Sprott  (author)
Publication Date: 2006
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Abstract: This volume's title, 'High Lean Country', is a phrase from Judith Wright's retrospective poem, 'South of My Days', one commemorating her pioneering family's richly storied past and encapsulating much of New England's pastoral antecedents. The epigraph quoted now is a gracious compliment from an equally famed younger poet. It refers to Les Murray's own cultural experiences from the 1960s and 70s at the dynamic University of New England, recognising perceptively the clarity of thought and expression encouraged here, the strong local 'sense of region' and its distinctive ability to nurture the spirit. Nowhere is this cultural stimulation more obvious today than in the university's generous outreach work in identifying, nurturing and continuing the living stream of our most lucid prose. This writing may be pure or applied, imaginative or descriptive, physical or environmental, but is always reinforcing New England identity by its crisp portrayals of setting and ecology, life and thought, manners and lifestyle for those who follow. The American poet Robert Frost once wrote that 'Locality gives art'. We have been blest by a sequence of regional and visiting writers seeking to express their observations, epiphanies and experiences here. That prose has often been spiritually significant, while also anchoring local white settlers' cultural and environmental perceptions. As A.N. Whitehead, renowned 297 student of 'mental climate', once put it, 'in literature the concrete outlook look of a country receives its expression, [there] we must look if we are to the inward thoughts of a generation'.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: High Lean Country: Land, people and memory in New England, p. 296-307
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Place of Publication: Crows Nest, Australia
ISBN: 9781741750867
Field of Research (FOR): 200299 Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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