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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The extended courtship correspondence of Vance and Nettie Palmer, Australia's most significant literary couple between the wars, begun in 1909 ended with their marriage in 1914. Like the literary exchanges between Robert Browning and Emily Barrett, and Dowell O'Reilly and his wife to be, they discuss the nature and meaning of life and love, the relations between language, poetry, spirit and emotion, their future together and politics. The private letter is an action or gesture, as well as a representation of one, and in Vance's case often experienced as a kiss. Multiple readings - rhetorical, historical, biographical and psychological - are possible but the content of the letters has also a creative function. In Vance's understanding of the 'universe' and their individual place within it, through the erotic charge between them, in their rapture, we can begin to make visible the Palmers' disruption of their colonial present in their defiance of conventional understandings of male and female friendship, and marriage.'

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y JASAL Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature no. 8 2008 Z1523769 2008 periodical issue 2008 pg. 75-91
    Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
Last amended 9 Aug 2010