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Parent, know thyself : genre, materiality and advice books for parents in early colonial Australia c.1788-1850

posted on 21.02.2017, 23:53 by De Stefani, Michelle Gabriella
This dissertation examines the evolution of advice books for parents as they materially and ideologically made their way from Britain to the early Australian colonies in the period encompassing settlement to the 1850s. Little is known of the transportation, trade and readership of advice books addressed to parents in the early Australian colonies, nor of the emergence of Australia’s own early publications that transformed this generic tradition for the particularities of a new settler society. While previous studies have attributed the appearance of Australian advice texts on the subject of childrearing to emerging medical and scientific discourses of the late-nineteenth century, this study argues that traces of advice books for a parent readership are observable in early historical periods contingent to the social, material and cultural contexts of early colonial emigration and settlement. In order to redress these previous historical trajectories, the dissertation complexifies the concept of genre when applied to mid-eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century “advice books” pertaining to the moral, health and educational concerns of children. More specifically, it applies a contextual model of genre as a theoretical lens which can unite methodologies and sources converging around the material dimensions of “the book” and rhetorical dimensions of “the text” in order to uncover examples of these books in early colonial contexts.


Principal supervisor

Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts