Creative Writing in New Zealand

Creative Writing in New Zealand

Creative Writing in New Zealand

Creative Writing in New Zealand


As its size may indicate, this book does not claim to be a comprehensive history of New Zealand writing. It is intended as an introduction to the main features of creative writing in this country, from the beginnings to the present day. I hope that it will act also as a stimulus, moving the reader to examine for himself at least some of the books discussed.

What I have tried to present is neither a text-book, nor a list of names and titles, but rather a critical examination of the chief tendencies which have shown themselves so far in our writing. The values on which my assessment of literary worth and my selection of material have been based are, I trust, sufficiently evident in the book itself.

It will be seen that I have dealt mainly with those writers who appear to me to have produced work of sufficient value, or of sufficient influence on creative writing, to merit consideration in a survey of literary achievements. Although, when a detailed history of New Zealand writing is produced, it will no doubt discuss many authors whom I have omitted, I believe that I have included all figures of real importance.

I have acknowledged, in the body of the book, most of the few available critical works to which I am indebted for some general facts, if not necessarily for judgments. Mr. E. H. McCormick's 'Letters and Art in New Zealand', perhaps more than any other, has been useful as a guide, especially for the earlier writers; although I have often found myself in disagreement with his emphases and his evaluations.

Among the aids from which I have not quoted directly, I must mention T. M. Hocken 'Bibliography of the Literature Relating to New Zealand' (1909), and Dr. C. H. Scholefield Dictionary of New Zealand Biography' (2 vols. 1940).

I am particularly indebted to Professor P. S. Ardern, who read the book in proof, for his many helpful suggestions; and to Mr. M. K. Joseph, for his advice on one particular aspect of Chapter V. I have also gratefully to acknowledge the help of my wife in compiling an index.

J. C. Reid.

Auckland June 1946 . . .

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