The review notes that:
“The great attractiveness of Gildersleeve’s study is that she manages to encounter the fundamental tension between different versions of Tsiolkas without needing to narrativise his career in a way that is governed by any particular set of terms. She does this through her astute use of affect theory to set up another way of encountering his work. … By bringing affect theory into dialogue with current cultural discourses she aims to show us ‘how Australian writing can work as part of a broader network of cultural reparative strategies’ (17).
It adds that the chapters are “lucid, well-constructed and very learned” and that
“Gildersleeve writes eloquently and sympathetically. She is terrifically erudite, which enables her to generate unexpected insights into the broader literary and cultural context. Her expertise as a scholar of modernism is evident at the moments that Conrad, Eliot, Mann and others pop up. She is also theoretically very capacious, and gracious with regard to other critics.”
The review further notes that:
the book strikes me as a fascinating example of a trend in literary studies that really does deserve more attention: a desire for a notion of Bildung that is called into being at the very moment that literary culture, not to mention broader forms of historical and critical literacy, seem most threatened by new media forms that have thoroughly undermined the very ideal of community to which Bildung appeals.
Finally, the review recommends Christos Tsiolkas: The Utopian Vision because it “will be an important touchstone for anyone interested in Tsiolkas and affect theory, or in Australia’s contemporary literary landscape more generally.”
This book is in the Cambria Australian Literature Series, headed by Dr. Susan Lever.
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