This chapter discusses national literary histories in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the South Pacific and summarises the book's main findings regarding the construction and revision of narratives of national identity since 1950. In colonial and postcolonial cultures, literary history is often based on a paradox that says much about their evolving sense of collective identity, but perhaps even more about the strains within it. The chapter considers the complications typical of postcolonial literary history by focusing on the conflict between collective celebration and its refutation. It examines three issues relating to the histories of English-language fiction in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the South Pacific: problems of chronology and beginnings, with a special emphasis on Indigenous peoples; the role of the cultural elite and the history wars in the Australian context; and the influence of postcolonial networks on historical methodology.
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