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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 W/rites of Passion: Thea Astley's Sunshine Coast Transition from Poetry to Fiction
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'During 1947 and 1948, Thea Astley's life changed in ways that permanently affected her writing. In August 1947, she obtained a transfer to Imbil State School, west of Noosa. In November she re-sat failed University of Queensland exams in economics and history, and graduated with a BA in the following April. In January 1948, Astley took up a secondary teaching post at Pomona Rural High. On 27 August, she married Jack Gregson at the Gympie Registry Office. She transferred to Brisbane for the remainder of 1948, and early in the New Year moved with her husband to Sydney. This article contrasts poetry about love and place that Astley wrote during these transition years with the themes and tone of her novel, A Descant for Gossips, published in 1960 and set in Pomona (‘Gungee’) and its environs. Dedicated ‘To John’, Astley's love poems display a passionate lyricism and a commitment that, though usually nervous and conditional, encompasses moments of settled happiness and clarity. In Descant, by contrast, moments of fulfilment in the love affair of teachers Helen Striebel and Robert Moller are suffused with guilt. Similarly, Astley's youthful response in her poetry to the beauty of the ranges and the coast collapses a decade later in Descant into a dystopic rendition of Gungee as a town that punishes defiance and crucifies difference. The article concludes by speculating about causes for the transformation.' (Abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Queensland Review vol. 24 no. 2 December 2017 12338930 2017 periodical issue

    'This issue of Queensland Review takes as its focus the literature of the Sunshine Coast and its hinterland. Under a conceptually rigorous regime, it might be deemed necessary to interrogate some of these terms closely: both ‘literature’ and ‘the Sunshine Coast’ are both, for different reasons, potentially contestable notions — as also, in this context, is the word ‘of’: does it mean ‘from’ or ‘about’ or both? Our authors have elected not to contest these matters in the abstract, but rather to adopt broadly inclusive definitions of all three terms — and, for that matter, of ‘the hinterland’. Our cover image does something similar. An unattributed colour photograph taken nearly half a century ago, looking westward from the northern tip of Bribie Island (or thereabouts) to the Glasshouse Mountains, it captures — rather cunningly given the proximity of human habitation just outside the frame — something of the primeval beauty of both the littoral and the hinterland, a recurrent theme in this collection.' (Editorial)

    pg. 271-281
Last amended 12 Dec 2017 14:22:27
271-281 W/rites of Passion: Thea Astley's Sunshine Coast Transition from Poetry to Fictionsmall AustLit logo Queensland Review
  • Pomona, Eumundi - Pomona - Cooroy area, Sunshine Coast Hinterland, South East Queensland, Queensland,
  • 1947-1960
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