David Foster: The Satirist of Australia
David Foster is the most original, challenging, contradictory, risk-taking and infuriating Australian novelist of his generation. To date he has published twelve novels, three collections of novellas and short stories, two books of poetry, and a collection of essays, with several produced radio plays. Foster writes in an Australian tradition of idiosyncratic satire and comedy that may be traced through the work of Joseph Furphy, Miles Franklin, Xavier Herbert and David Ireland. His novels are the most wide-ranging and fearless of the Australian novels that have contributed to the late twentieth-century re-examination of Western ideologies and the literary forms in which they are expressed. In this first critical study of David Foster's works, Professor Susan Lever steers us into penetrating the mysteries of Foster's fiction, and provides guidance to readers willing to approach them. The book examines the contradictory nature of his commitments and interests as expressed mainly in his novels. Each of his works of fiction and poetry in the order of publication (except for The Adventures of Christian Rosy Cross and The Pale Blue Crochet Coathanger Cover which are discussed with similar novels) are discussed. The development of Foster's philosophical ideas and technique as a novelist over the 35 years of his writing life to date is followed. The book also examines Foster's letters to Geoffrey Dutton early in his career; his interviews and essays provide some of the background to these novels. The book also furnishes a sense of the Australian context for his work. A brief biography of Foster's early life and a discussion of his approach to satire is also included.
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