Issue Details: First known date: 2015 2015
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'This paper will examine the ultimately incommensurable divide between the listening ear and speaking voice that defines Christina Stead’s Seven Poor Men of Sydney (1934). Read in the context of an internationally conceived modernist interrogation of the conditions of literary production, exemplified by the modernist magazine transition, where Stead first encountered James Joyce’s ‘in-progress’ publication of Finnegan’s Wake, Stead’s experimentation with sound in her first novel registers an exilic sensibility which would become a generative impetus for her later work. Founded in 1927, transition reflected the fusion of Dadaism, Surrealism and German Romanticism of its American expatriate editor Eugene Jolas. Initially published as a monthly magazine it was cut back after twelve issues to four issues a year and repackaged as ‘An International Quarterly for Creative Experiment’. Issues continued to appear, sometimes sporadically, until 1938, with later incarnations bearing the suggestive subtitle ‘International Workshop for Orphic Creation’. The revolutionary project of wresting the voice and the word from the machinery of mass production and rational communication, as this later subtitle indicates, was sustained throughout the life of the magazine. Reading Seven Poor Men of Sydney alongside this collective dismantling of the grounds of rational communication throws the novel’s particular convergence of a modernist inspired exilic aesthetics with a typically excoriating critique of bourgeois radicalism into sharp relief.' (Publication abstract)

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  • Appears in:
    y JASAL Critical Soundings : Voice, Space and Sound in Australian Literature vol. 15 no. 1 2015 8859932 2015 periodical issue 2015
Last amended 1 Sep 2015 15:44:05
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