'In the arts generally and in literature in particular, depictions of sex are never a mere representation of life-they are more like a substitute for it, an alternative to it. They often express desires which cannot find fulfilment in reality, and thus are entrusted to the imagination by which, for all their 'baser' nature, they are turned, or sublimated, into something more acceptable to society, something that can appear on a canvas or a sheet of paper and relieve the artist's, as well as the viewer's frustration.' (p. 61)
'The issue of sexual contact across the racial divide-that is, for the most part, of white men having sex with black women-has long agitated Australia's culture and society. The unintended result of such contact, the appearance of a growing 'half-cast' population, was seen as a grave threat to the racist dream of a white Australia, and led to the policy of systematically removing mixed-race children from their mothers in order to 'breed out their colour,' thereby creating the 'Stolen Generations'. The policy so earnestly promoted the likes of A.O. Neville and Cecil Cook found widespread approval throughout Australia: hardly any voices were raised in dissent, and several decades later many still regarded it as entirely justified.' (p. 157)
P.R. Stephensen observed that: 'Americans are interested in us' and instances of this interest on the part of writers, readers and publishers abound, stretching as far back as the nineteenth century, but little attention has been paid to it and a London-centric view of Australian literary production has prevailed. Laurie Hergenhan, in 1995, referred to 'an area that has been little studied - American editions of Australian works' which he noted 'were more extensive than has been realised.'
A particular example of Stephensen's 'real kinship' is to be found in W.W. Norton's relationship with Australian authors - Henry Handel Richardson, the Palmers, and Katharine Susannah Prichard. Norton visited Australia and later established personal relationships with the Palmers and, through them, with Prichard. His edition of Haxby's Circus restored the novel's original title Fay's Circus and re-instated some of the material reluctantly cut by Prichard from the 1930 English edition. This paper explores the relationship between Norton and Prichard and dicusses the American edition of one of Prichard's most highly regarded novels.