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If you read that passage carefully, Boyd is clumsily making a connection between the world of antiquity and pre-European Australia — writing in , on the other side of the world about a country he had to leave; Homer and the Dreamtime no less, no more, decades before the idea of an Aboriginal history or archaeology even existed in a white world. So, while the writing is remarkable, there is a strange disconnect between the writer and his landscape.

In a sense, my point is that the novel is important because it reflects a moment in the Australian aesthetic. If it were a painting it might be a John Glover , with the gum trees just slightly wrong.

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It is wonderful Australian writing, but it is writing that is not home-grown and for that reason slightly misses the mark. That is an incredibly perceptive comment. If you add Anzackery [2] to that history there is little room for the ambiguities and complexities that Boyd explores in the novel.

The Bush and Anzac cover the field. Boyd never really caught on in Australia because what he was writing about missed the changes in the way we thought of ourselves after the two wars.

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The Langton Quartet is an important part of Australian literary history for documenting a past that can easily be forgotten. A past that was uncomfortable with an English sensibility gradually fading away in the glare of the Australian sun. As you read The Cardboard Crown , you get the sense that, with each boat journey the Langtons take back to England, the less confident they are of finding home. Three cool facts to note.

Perhaps unfortunately, he chose to travel to England before enlisting in an English Regiment. It is one of those wonderful what ifs: what if Martin had been an Anzac?

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Would he have written about Australia differently? Like his uncle, Robin cast a critical eye on the Australian landscape — the built one.

For lots more on Anzackery, use our Honest History Search engine. You must be logged in to post a comment.

Cardboard Crowns

Share this book share High resolution cover picture Preview this book books View book rights notepad. About the Author. After leaving school, Martin Boyd enrolled in a seminary, but he abandoned Other editions of The Cardboard Crown. Other Titles by Martin Boyd.

Cardboard Crown

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