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Elizabeth Harrower: Critical Essays is the first sustained study of this acclaimed Australian author. It brings together two celebrated novelists and ten noted critics of Australian literature to consider the legacy and continuing importance of this major literary figure.

The essays examine all of Harrower’s published fiction, from her first short story to the long-delayed publication of In Certain Circles in 2014. Together they provide an wide ranging introduction to the extraordinary imaginative and intellectual project of her work. They explore her engagement with twentieth-century history and post-war society, with modernism and modernity, and with the personal impacts of mass media, technology and industry. They demonstrate her grasp of the ethical and philosophical challenges confronting her readers and characters in late modernity as seen from a number of distinctive vantage points including the harbourside mansions and commercial centres of post-war Sydney, the suburbs of industrial Newcastle, and the bed-sitters of expatriate London in the 1960s.

Together they offer new insights into an Australian writer at the crossroads of modernism and postmodernism, inviting readers to read and re-engage with Harrower’s work in a new light.
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About the author

Elizabeth McMahon is an associate professor of Australian literature at the University of New South Wales.

Brigitta Olubas is an associate professor of English at the University of New South Wales.

Robert Dixon is professor of Australian literature at the University of Sydney. He is a general editor in Sydney University Press’ Sydney Studies in Australian Literature series.

Nicholas Birns is associate professor at the Center for Applied Liberal Arts, New York University.

Megan Nash is a PhD candidate and course coordinator at the University of Sydney.

Ivor Indyk is the Whitlam professor in the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University.

Michelle de Kretser is an honorary associate of the English department at the University of Sydney.

Fiona McFarlane teaches creative writing at the University of Sydney.

Elizabeth Webby is professor emerita of Australian literature at the University of Sydney.

Brigid Rooney teaches Australian literature at the University of Sydney.

Julian Murphet is Scientia professor in English and film studies at the University of New South Wales.

Kate Livett teaches in the school of arts and media at the University of New South Wales.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Sydney University Press
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Published on
Sep 28, 2017
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Pages
160
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ISBN
9781743325599
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Australian & Oceanian
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Haina ia mai ana ka puana. This familiar refrain, sometimes translated Let the echo of our song be heard, appears among the closing lines in many nineteenth-century chants and poems. From earliest times, the chanting of poetry served the Hawaiians as a form of ritual celebration of the things they cherished--the beauty of their islands, the abundance of wild creatures that inhabited their sea and air, the majesty of their rulers, and the prowess of their gods. Commoners as well as highborn chiefs and poet-priests shared in the creation of the chants. These haku mele, or composers, the commoners especially, wove living threads from their own histoic circumstances and everyday experiences into the ongoing oral tradition, as handed down from expert to pupil, or from elder to descendant, generation after generation.

This anthology embraces a wide variety of compositions: it ranges from song-poems of the Pele and Hiiaka cycle and the pre-Christian Shark Hula for Ka-lani-opuu to postmissionary chants and gospel hymns. These later selections date from the reign of Ka-mehameha III (1825-1854) to that of Queen Liliu-o-ka-lani (1891-1893) and comprise the major portion of the book. They include, along with heroic chants celebrating nineteenth-century Hawaiian monarchs, a number of works composed by commoners for commoners, such as Bill the Ice Skater, Mr. Thurston's Water-Drinking Brigade, and The Song of the Chanter Kaehu. Kaehu was a distinguished leper-poet who ended his days at the settlement-hospital on Molokai.

Winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award
Shortlisted for the Stella Prize
Longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award

“For a novel concerned with dislocation, there's a lot of grounding humor in The Life to Come. Most of it comes at the expense of Pippa and her ilk, but de Kretser's observations are so spot on, you'll forgive her even as you cringe.” —Amelia Lester, New York Times Book Review

Set in Australia, France, and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is about the stories we tell and don’t tell ourselves as individuals, as societies, and as nations. Driven by a vivid cast of characters, it explores necessary emigration, the art of fiction, and ethnic and class conflict.

Pippa is a writer who longs for success and eventually comes to fear that she “missed everything important.” Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka, but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Sri Lankan Christabel endures her dull job and envisions a brighter future that “rose, glittered, and sank back,” while she neglects the love close at hand.

The stand-alone yet connected worlds of The Life to Come offer meditations on intimacy, loneliness, and our flawed perception of reality. Enormously moving, gorgeously observant of physical detail, and often very funny, this new novel by Michelle de Kretser reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform and distort the present. It is teeming with life and earned wisdom—exhilaratingly contemporary, with the feel of a classic.

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