Hard Frost: Structures of feeling in New Zealand literature, 1908–1945 by John Newton (Victoria University Press, 2017), 368 pp., $40
After Stuart Murray’s Never a Soul at Home (VUP 1998), Lawrence Jones’ Picking Up the Traces (VUP 2003) and numerous other texts of literary revisionism, it is hard to imagine that anything new can be said about New Zealand’s mid-century literary nationalism. Another book covering this territory must have at least a new angle of vision. Fortunately John Newton’s Hard Frost does have such an angle, although many of Newton’s observations inevitably overlap with those of previous literary historians.
Hard Frost is the first volume of a proposed trilogy, which will eventually take Newton up to the 1970s. Its ‘Afterword’ is like a preview of coming attractions as it fades out on Charles Brasch and Denis Glover setting up Landfall in 1947 and looks forward to a new sort of New Zealand literary production in the 1950s. [Read more…]