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Letters and Art in New Zealand


page vii


While I have attempted some evaluation of New Zealand letters and art in the following essay, my chief aim has been to bring out their relation to social changes in the years since European discovery. To do this I have drawn on sources, of whatever kind, which seemed useful for my purpose. Both the restricted scope of the essay and its brevity have necessitated a drastic selection of material, but I hope the selection will not appear arbitrary; it was not meant to be. The terms used in the discussion of graphic art (for other branches have had to be ignored) are a 'literary' observer's, not those of an artist or critic of art; for this reason the sections on art may best be regarded as pendants to the larger literary undertaking. Since pictures are primarily meant to be looked at, I regret that it has not been possible, within the limitations of the present series, to provide more illustrations. However, page viiimost of the pictures referred to are in public collections, and some readers will have seen (or may still see) the Centennial Exhibition of New Zealand Art which ranges more widely than was possible in this essay.

Acknowledgements are gratefully made to the staffs of libraries, art galleries, and museums, to Miss E. J. Janes of Wellington, to those critics (three in particular) who have read the essay in manuscript, and to the one without whose initial impetus and unfailing solicitude there would have been no series of Centennial Surveys. In a properly ordered world their names and the names of that other legion who have helped to make this book would be on the title page—if one sufficiently large could be contrived.