Oceania has a rich and growing literary tradition. The imaginative literature that emerged in the 1960s often reflected the forms and structures of European literature, though the ideas expressed were typically anticolonial. After three decades, the literature of Oceania has become much more complex, in terms of style as well as content; and authors write in a multiplicity of styles and voices. While the written literature of Oceania is continuously gaining more critical attention, questions about the imposition of European literary standards and values as a further extension of colonialism in the Pacific have become a central issue.
This book is a detailed survey of the expanding amount of critical and interpretive material written about the imaginative literature of authors from Oceania. It focuses on commentary and scholarship concerned with the poetry, fiction, and drama written in English by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and Australia. The criticisms have appeared in academic books and journals since the mid-1960s. They have developed to the point at which critical issues, related to decolonization and the expression of ideas without having to first satisfy foreign expectations, often determine the direction of such discussions. Entries are grouped in topical chapters, and each entry includes an extensive annotation. An introductory essay summarizes the evolution of Pacific literature.