'The date of composition is unknown but there are a few possible clues. Baynton refers to the proofs of Human Toll lying about her in a letter to A.G. Stephens from Switzerland in January 1906: she seems to have had them for a long time. This novel may also be the "long story" she mentions in another letter to Stephens, in February 1903' (Editor's Note, Portable Australian Authors: Barbara Baynton, UQP, 1980).
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Envisioning Female Sexuality in Barbara Baynton's 'Human Toll'Rosemary Moore,
1993single work criticism — Appears in:
The Time to Write : Australian Women Writers 1890-19301993;(p. 218-237)Moore examines the ways in which Human Toll explores anxieties about female sexuality, arguing that "terror arises out of a woman's perception of the horror that surrounds female sexuality as a social construction and a projection of male fears". Moore demonstrates that, in Human Toll, Baynton endows Ursula with the capacity to escape the cycle of a "woman's trajectory". Given the power to recognise inhibiting stereotypes, Ursula takes control of her quest for self-knowledge and her desire to be a writer.