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Ryan JS. Literary Taste - Some Fossilized Preferences. 1965.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/11129
Literary Taste - Some Fossilized Preferences
"All, all must perish; but, surviving last, The love of letters half preserves the past. True, some decay, yet not a few revive: Though those shall sink, which now appear to thrive, As custom arbitrates, whose shifting sway Our life and language must alike obey." --Byron, 'Hints from Horace'. Although place-names might not be first thought of in a search for evidence of literary tastes, many names on the map of this country bear witness to the books with popular appeal in past generations and particularly during the nineteenth century, the age when cultured taste found expression in the unlikely field of toponomy. If we ignore the frequent but general references to classical literature in the bestowals of the period up to 1830, we may find many names with specific associations in the early literature of Western Europe and of England. One of the earliest, Vaucluse (in New South Wales) was given to his estate there by W. C. Wentworth in 1827 in honour of the little village in France where Petrarch was born and first saw his Laura. Another ancient name, this time with Arthurian associations, is Avalon (New South Wales) which commemorates the Somerset hamlet where Joseph of Arimathea, St. Patrick and King Arthur are all said to have been.