Required Reading examines for the first time what students read and studied in the disciplines of English and literary studies at Australian schools and universities after 1945.
On the basis of this primary evidence the authors challenge enduring myths of curriculum history, the history of literary studies, critical theory, and cultural studies. They fill out the picture of how students were encouraged to read, when, where, and in which particular pedagogical and wider social and historical contexts. They relate dramatic changes to curriculum frameworks and syllabi, teaching and learning methods, social and cultural values and assumptions, and the academic discipline of literary studies itself.
Required Reading shows, finally, how flawed assumptions about the nature and the history of upper-school English and academic literary studies have, since the 1980s, obstructed the advancement of knowledge within both fields of scholarly endeavour.
Tim Dolin is Professor of Literary Studies at Curtin University. He is a member of the editorial board of the Cambridge Edition of the Novels and Stories of Thomas Hardy, for which he is preparing a critical edition of The Return of the Native. He has written numerous essays and chapters on the nineteenth-century novel for international journals and books, and has edited novels by Hardy, Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell. He is also completing The Irony of Distance, about British novels in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Australia, based on data collected and stored on the Australian Common Reader website.
Jo Jones is Lecturer in English Studies in the Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania. She has a PhD in Australian colonial historical novels and has taught extensively at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia. Jo has a forthcoming monograph, Dark Times: Australian Historical Novels and the History Wars (UWA Publishing), and is currently undertaking studies of the Gothic and its reception in Tasmanian schools.
Patricia Dowsett is a teacher of English and Literature who has taught at both the secondary and tertiary levels in Western Australia. In 2016 Trish completed a PhD at the University of Western Australia. Her research examined ‘The History of Curricular Control: Literary Education in Western Australia, 1912–2012’, a reflection of her interests in subject histories, English Studies and Australian literary history. With Bill Green and Brenton Doecke, Trish co-edited a special issue of the AATE journal English in Australia, dedicated to reading the impact of the 1966 Dartmouth Seminar upon the teaching of English and interrogating its central question, “What is English?”.
Jenny de Reuck
Susan K. Martin
Larissa McLean Davies