John & Shirley McLaren collection

The John and Shirley McLaren Collection is a research collection donated by Emeritus Professor John McLaren (1932 - 2015) to Victoria University Library in several stages from 1993 onwards. It is located in the Special Collections Room, P402, at the Footscray Park Campus Library.

Who is John Mclaren?

John and Shirley McLaren in 1996

John and Shirley McLaren in 1996

John McLaren BEd BA (Hons) PhD (Melbourne) MA (Monash) and Emeritus Professor in the College of Arts at Victoria University. A Victoria University and F.I.T. academic staff member for over 30 years, John has published widely on Australian Literature, Pacific Studies, Multiculturalism and Education. John Mclaren was Foundation Editor of the second series of Australian Book Review, serving as editor from 1978 to 1986, Associate Editor of Overland from 1966, and Editor from 1993 to 1997. He is now Overland's Consulting Editor.

In 1990 John was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Humanities Centre at the University of Oregon in the United States and since then has been using research funding grants to publish on Australian, Southeast Asian and Pacific literature and politics.

John McLaren's most recent publications are Australian Literature: a historical introduction (1991), The New Pacific Literatures (1993), Prophet from the Desert: Critical Essays on Patrick White (1995), Writing in Hope and Fear: Postwar Australian Literature as Politics (1996), Free Radicals of the Left in Postwar Melbourne (2003), Not in Tranquility: A Memoir (2005), and Journey Without Arrival: The Life and Writing of Vincent Buckley (2009).

His wife, Shirley McLaren (1930-1999) was also active in Australian literary studies. Shirley was a long time Treasurer of Overland and was also on its Editorial Board.

What's in the Collection?

The McLaren Collection

The McLaren Collection

The John and Shirley McLaren Collection contains rare and valuable books on Australian, New Zealand, and South Pacific fiction (novels, plays and poetry) and criticism. Also included are a number of works on colonial and post-colonial literature in the Asia-Pacific region. These items come from the personal collection of John McLaren. The Library also holds the Archival Papers of John McLaren. These papers have six main series:

  1. Personal papers (Correspondence)
  2. VU related material
  3. Australian Studies Centres
  4. Manuscripts and writing
  5. Extra-curricular activities
  6. Miscellaneous papers

The date range is mid-1940 to 2010. A Box List for the papers is accessible through the Library catalogue link above.

In 2011 Federal Government funding under the ASHER program was granted to VU Library to undertake a digitisation project of significant unpublished and out of print material from the McLaren Papers. These digitised documents can be accessed from the Box List of the McLaren Papers or from the McLaren Papers Collection on the VU Research Repository.

Access to the Collection

Over the four years from 2000 - 2004 the Library, assisted by funding from John McLaren, completed cataloguing the McLaren Collection. In the Library Catalogue all items in the collection will have the prefix FTS MCLAREN COLL. before the shelf number. The Library Catalogue can be accessed within the Library.

The McLaren Collection is a research collection and the items cannot be borrowed but may be used in the Footscray Park Library. Please make an appointment to use the McLaren collection by phoning Linda Forbes on +61 3 9919 8506 or email linda.forbes@vu.edu.au.

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