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Nineteenth-Century Novels Collection

Between 1861 and 1899, New Zealand produced dozens of works of literature. Novels written or set in New Zealand were published in London, Warsaw, and Melbourne as well as Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Shorter fiction appeared in local pamphlets and newspaper supplements. Many of these grappled with the pressing issues of the day—women’s rights, prohibition, welfare, race relations. Yet, in the intervening years, this thriving literary culture faded from memory. Later generations looked back on the works of nineteenth-century authors with a mixture of embarrassment and disappointment. ‘The probability is’, wrote E. H. McCormick in 1940, ‘that a fitting transcript of that period never reached the printing press’.

The New Zealand Electronic Text Collection’s Collection of Nineteenth-Century New Zealand Literature aims to restore this ‘lost’ body of literature to view. In partnership with the Alexander Turnbull Library and the J. C. Beaglehole Room at Victoria University of Wellington, we aim to produce a comprehensive on-line collection of nineteenth-century New Zealand novels. The corpus as it stands consists of 56 works, and will continue to be expanded over the next year. A comprehensive introduction by Jane Stafford and Mark Williams provides an overview and sets the works in context. We are pleased to announce also the online publication of Maoriland: New Zealand Literature, 1872-1914, by kind permission of Jane Stafford, Mark Williams, and Victoria University Press. Other supplementary texts will be added to the collection in 2009.

All the texts in this list (other than the three supplementary texts at the beginning) appear in chronological order.