'For Charmian Clift, Greece was the Promised Land. In 1954 she and her husband, George Johnston, abandoned their sophisticated London existence and set off with two new typewriters and two small children to start a new life.
'In Mermaid Singing - written during the first miraculous year of discovery - she records the family's adaptation to the primitive sponge-diving island of Kalymnos.
'Peel Me a Lotus continues the exploration as Clift and Johnson buy a house on the island of Hydra, in the middle of the summer tourist trail. Clift's writing about Greece was undervalued at the time of first publication, because she wrote from a women's point of view and recorded the intimate details of daily life. It is exactly this quality which enables this classic to appeal to a new generation of readers.' (Publication summary)
'Taking the Flowery Bed Back to Australia' : The Repatriation of Charmian Clift and George JohnstonTanya Dalziell,
2016single work criticism — Appears in:
Australian Literary Studies,1 Junevol.
32016;'Since coming to national attention in the immediate post-World War II years Charmian Clift and George Johnston have remained an enigmatic and almost ‘mythical’ Australian literary couple. At the heart of their shared biographies is the near-decade they spent on the Aegean island of Hydra between 1955 and 1964 where they were at the centre of an international community of writers and artists, and their eventual repatriation to Australia when their years abroad culminated in the triumphant publication of Johnston’s classic novel My Brother Jack. This paper examines aspects of these years on Hydra, exploring the co-dependent but often difficult relationship the Clift and Johnston shared with other expatriates at the same time as their own marriage endured many crises amid the struggle to write fiction of lasting importance.'
Australians in Aspic : Picturing Charmian Clift's and George Johnston's ExpatriationTanya Dalziell,
2015single work criticism — Appears in:
32015;'This paper considers how the expatriation of Australian authors Charmian Clift and George Johnston on the Greek island of Hydra has been represented photographically in a recently uncovered archive of over 1500 images. The photographs were taken by Life Magazine staff photographer James Burke in the summer of 1960. The analysis of the photographs is juxtaposed at key points with text from Clift's memoir Peel Me a Lotus, and the discussion focuses on the way the interplay between image and text produces supportive and/or contested representations of this particular experience of Australian literary expatriation.' (Publication abstract)