Eccentric Visions: Re Constructing Australia


336 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88920-229-X
DDC 994




Reviewed by Terry Goldie

Terry Goldie is an associate professor of English at York University and
the co-editor of An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English.


This book attempts to provide an innovative perspective on Australian
culture. It begins with literature, ranges through film and art, touches
on history, and then makes sweeping generalizations about culture.
Instead of novel observations, the book provides repetitions of what has
been said elsewhere, as well as unsupported attacks on accepted wisdom.
Nor does McGregor seem to grasp the Australian sensibility. She wonders
how Australians can love Crocodile Dundee when he is so obviously a
poseur. As many have noted, you can’t understand Australia if you
don’t understand irony. McGregor clearly doesn’t.

At one point, McGregor attacks the “amateurism” of the Australian
academy. Not a bad summation of McGregor’s own work. Her surface
intellectualism glosses over interpretations that are at best
journalistic. To borrow one of the quick assessments of which McGregor
is so fond, her work is too intelligent to be just sensible but too
ignorant to make much sense.


McGregor, Gaile., “Eccentric Visions: Re Constructing Australia,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,