Issue Details: First known date: 2011 2011
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'The rich cream of Miles Franklin's simile on some cases maintained its sweetly luscious quality in England, but in others it turned out to be just skim milk after all, or else the vinegary life of the metropolis soon curdled it. Franklin herself knew this very well. She found no real literary success herself in London, and permits the authorial voice in Cockatoos (speaking from her own experience) to strike a conspiratorial note, with a warning of a deliberate censoring of bad news from the capital. "The facts about those who starved in the Big Smoke until the hat went round to generous compatriots to send them home," says the narrator darkly, " were not in the Sydney newspapers and did not weigh against successes." Perhaps so, but there was always room in the newspapers for yet another report on that most acceptable and uplifting trajectory of the expatriate: the longing to leave, the confused arrival, the temporary disillusionment, the struggle, the slowly rising fortunes, the moderate or great success: in short, the good news that the game plan had worked. The fewer the initial prospects, the more unlikely the ascent, the more the stay-at-homes were eager for details.' (Authors introduction 91-92)


  • Epigraph:
    This is an appalling country and interesting beyond all measure. -Will Dyson (1903)

    Every one of any note born to us, by the centralisation attendant upon imperialism is drawn off to London like the rich cream leaving only the plain milk beneath. - Miles Franklin (1929)

    There is nobody and nothing to whom the Australians are less merciful than somebody who tried to make it in Europe and didn't make it. And they don't even let you know that they're not forgiving it. They're like seagulls pecking a sick seagull; they want to forget about failure. - Robert Hughes (1984)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y Lusting for London : Australian Expatriate Writers at the Hub of Empire, 1870-1950 Peter Morton , New York (City) : Palgrave Macmillan , 2011 Z1826218 2011 single work criticism

    'Long before the post-WWII migration, over one hundred Australian writers left their homeland to seek fame and fortune in London. Some made little mark despite their arduous efforts; some made a tolerable living; a few, like Martin Boyd, H.H. Richardson and Christina Stead, actually achieved permanent fame. Lusting for London analyses how these writers reacted to their new surroundings—in both their autobiographical writings and their creative work. With wit and rigor, Peter Morton studies the expatriate experience and reveals the ways in which the loss of these expatriates affected the evolving literary culture of Australia' (Publisher blurb).

    Contents: Issues of Definition and Evidence; Sailing for El Dorado: Going Home in the Literary Imagination; A Gout of Bile: Metic and Immigrant Expatriates; The Aroma of the Past: in Antipodean London; Drawing off the Rich Cream: The Struggle in London; Who Are You? No One: The Hacking Journalist in London; The Dear Old Mother Country: Richardson's The Way Home and Stead's For Love Alone; Always the Feeling of Australia in the Air: Martin Boyd's Lucinda Brayford; A Leaven of Venturesome Minds: Literary Expatriates and Australian Culture; No More Pap from the Teats of London: From Expatriation toTtransnationalism; Conclusion: A Padded Cell in Wagga Wagga.

    New York (City) : Palgrave Macmillan , 2011
    pg. 91-110
Last amended 31 Aug 2012