Book Chapter

Against the Social Pattern: New Zealand Fiction 1950-1970



Jones T (2016) Against the Social Pattern: New Zealand Fiction 1950-1970. In: Williams M (ed.) A History of New Zealand Literature. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 153-166.

A survey of New Zealand prose in the period, incorporating original research.  First paragraph: ‘We are…’, wrote C.K Stead in 1965, ‘and have been since about 1930, at that moment (a moment… prolonged through several generations) when a new society defines its consciousness while that consciousness is forming…’.[i] Stead saw a continuity between the culture and literary production of the middle 1960s and the period of cultural nationalism preceding it; this moment of newness was a long one. Later readings of fiction produced between 1950 and 1970 describe it as an established style that looks back to the 1930s, when the tropes and methods of cultural nationalism and critical realism were set out, resulting in an extended period of literary and critical orthodoxy.[ii] This is a fair account; but writers were nevertheless finding ways of deviating within that remit. By the middle 1960s, New Zealand prose was still critical in focus, but not always strictly realist in substance. [i] C.K. Stead, ‘Introduction’, in C.K. Stead (ed.), New Zealand Short Stories: Second Series (1966; Wellington: Oxford University Press), 1976. n.p. [ii] Stuart Murray, Never a Soul at Home: New Zealand Literary Nationalism and the 1930s (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1998), p.249.

Publication date31/12/2016
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publisher URL…rature?format=HB
Place of publicationNew York

People (1)


Dr Timothy Jones

Dr Timothy Jones

Lecturer in Gothic Studies, English Studies