In the years since the Second World War, Australia has seen a period of literary creativity which outshines any earlier period in the nation's literary history. This creativity has its beginnings in the arguments and alignments which emerged at the end of the War, and the changes in perceptions of art and society which occurred during the fifties and early sixties.
A Question of Commitment examines the attitudes of writers as diverse as James McAuley, Frank Hardy, Judith Wright, Patrick White and A. D. Hope, as they responded to a changing Australian society during the postwar years. Through their work and that of many others, it considers the debates about literary nationalism, the artistic politics of the Cold War, the threat of technology to art in the Atomic Age, and the nature of the writer's role in the new society. It documents the way in which the political commitments of some writers and the resistance to commitment of others were challenged by political and social changes of the late fifties.
Susan McKernan's lively exploration of Australia's writers in a time of innovation provides the reader with the context needed to understand the creative choices they made and, in so doing, introduces wider intellectual and cultural issues which remain relevant to this day.