Longing for Childhood Times in the New Zealand Bush: Nostalgia, Antimodernism, and the Deforested Landscape in the Writing of Elsie K. Morton

Cameron John Boyle


This paper draws on articles published in the New Zealand Herald between 1914 and 1933 by the writer and journalist Elsie K. Morton to demonstrate how nostalgia for childhood experiences in the forest, or the bush, as it is labelled colloquially, have acted as an antimodern response to and critique of defor- estation in New Zealand. Morton’s articles are situated within the wider body of cultural antimodernism in New Zealand, locating them after the antimod- ern literature of Maoriland in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, but before the antimodern writing of several prominent authors who published their works in the 1930s and 1940s. The author makes the argument that the bush landscape is central to the expression of antimodernism as a response to the modernisation of New Zealand.


Nostalgia, Antimodernism, Elsie K. Morton, Deforestation, Bush

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol13iss2id322