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y separately published work icon Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace : 1840s-1940s multi chapter work   criticism   biography  
Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace : 1840s-1940s
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace 1840s—1940s explores how Australian writers and their works were present in the United States before the mid twentieth century to a much greater degree than previously acknowledged. Drawing on fresh archival research and combining the approaches of literary criticism, print culture studies and book history, David Carter and Roger Osborne demonstrate that Australian writing was transnational long before the contemporary period. In mapping Australian literature’s connections to British and US markets, their research challenges established understandings of national, imperial and world literatures.

Carter and Osborne examine how Australian authors, editors and publishers engaged productively with their American counterparts, and how American readers and reviewers responded to Australian works. They consider the role played by British publishers and agents in taking Australian writing to America, and how the international circulation of new literary genres created new opportunities for novelists to move between markets.

Some of these writers, such as Christina Stead and Patrick White, remain household names; others who once enjoyed international fame, such as Dale Collins and Alice Grant Rosman, have been largely forgotten. The story of their books in America reveals how culture, commerce and copyright law interacted to create both opportunities and obstacles for Australian writers.' (Source: Publisher's blurb)

Contents

* Contents derived from the Sydney, New South Wales,:Sydney University Press , 2018 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Introduction : The Two-Sided Triangle, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'The story of Australian books and authors in the American marketplace has received little attention in Australian literary or publishing studies. If considered at all, an Australian presence in the US book market is probably understood as a recent phenomenon, beginning perhaps with the success of Peter Carey, Elizabeth Jolley and others in the 1970s, or in a different register with Colleen McCullough's international bestseller The Thorn Birds (1977) or Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List (1982). This "memory" might itself be the effect of framing Australian literature in predominantly national terms, as developing progressively or dialectically through colonial, national and modern phases, so that a serious international presence could only exist in the latest stage. The present study reveals a much longer history stretching back to the mid-nineteenth century, with a significant concentration of Australian novels published in the United States in the 1880s and 1890s, another period of marked impact between the wars, and significant instances of success in popular fiction across the twentieth century. It is also a much denser, more diverse history in terms of the sheer number and kinds of books and authors published.'  (Introduction)

(p. 1-14)
Antipodean Romance : Australian Fiction and the American Book Trade in the 15 Nineteenth Century, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'By the end of the nineteenth century, around one hundred Australian novels and travellers tales had been published in American editions, with the bulk of these, over three-quarters, appearing in the final two decades of the century. While this represents only a small fraction of the imported novels published in America in this period, as a proportion of all Australian novels to 1900 the numbers are significant. Indeed, a more generous count would raise the total above 150. Any accounting of course depends on prior decisions about what qualifies as an Australian book and who qualifies as an Australian author, an unavoidable issue for every phase of the history examined here but present in a particularly acute form for the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries where patterns of immigration, expatriation, and "imperial commuting" were the norm. Only a handful of the books that might be considered from this period are by Australian-born authors and only a handful more by long-term residents. Of the Australian-born, many became permanent or serial expatriates, while some of the most influential novels were written by visitors. '  (Introduction)

(p. 15-50)
International Reputations and Transatlantic Rights : Rosa Praed and Louis Becke, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'By the end of the nineteenth century, both Rosa Praed and Louis Becke had established international literary careers, in Australia, Britain and the United States. Praed has been claimed as "the first Australian-born novelist to achieve a significant international reputation".' Almost certainly she can lay claim to being the first Australian-born novelist to be published in the United States, although she had been resident in England for several years before her novel Nadine appeared in New York in Munro's Seaside Library in 1883. Of Praed's forty-seven published works, twenty-five appeared in American editions in the three decades from 1885 to 1915, including twenty-four of her thirty-eight novels in more than forty separate editions. Over the same period, Louis Becke achieved an even greater international reputation, if with a more spectacular rise and fall, primarily as a writer of tales of the South Seas. Across the fifteen years from 1895 to 1914, twenty-six of Becke's thirty-four books appeared in the American market.'  (Introduction)

(p. 51-82)
Crime, Sensation and the Modern Genre System : Australian Authors in the Popular Fiction Marketplace, 1890s-1920s, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'The American careers of Ada Cambridge, Rolf Boldrewood and Rosa Praed all extended into the first decade of the twentieth century, with new titles appearing alongside reprints of earlier works. Other authors whose careers in the US market began before the turn of the century but extended well beyond it include Fergus Hume, Guy Boothby and Carlton Dawe. Although forty years separate the birthdates of the oldest and youngest of these six authors, they were largely contemporaries in terms of their American publishing careers, with the majority of all their US titles appearing between 1890 and 1910. Yet to shift focus from the first to the second group is to find oneself in a changed literary space, marked by the emergence of the modern genre system on both sides of the Atlantic and hence in the Australian literary marketplace as well. As writers and readers, colonial Australians were subjects not only of the British Empire but also of a transnational Anglophone market for popular entertainment, not least for popular fiction. They participated in an expanding mass market, and not merely a contained and containing colonial system.' (Introduction)

(p. 83-110)
Renegotiating the American Connection : Australian Fiction 1900-1930s, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'The first three decades of the twentieth century present no clear pattern for the publication of Australian novels in the United States outside the serial relationships with publishers that certain genre writers were able to achieve. Otherwise, in all but a few cases, we see one-off or occasional publishing, with few signs of sustained investment in individual authors and even less in Australian books per se. Towards the end of the period, however, the situation changes quite suddenly with the enormous critical and sales success of Henry Handel Richardson's Ultima Palk in 1929, followed the year after by Katharine Susannah Prichard's Coonardoo, and these two authors will be the subject of Chapter 6. The present chapter surveys the presence in the American marketplace of Australian writers working in the broad field of commercial fiction but outside the popular genres of crime, mystery and women's romance. It examines the obstacles and opportunities for Australian authors and stories in America in these decades after the passing of international copyright legislation in the United States and as the structures of the modem, twentieth-century US publishing industry were set in place.'  (Introduction)

(p. 111-160)
Mystery and Romance : The Market for Light Fiction Between the Wars, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'On both sides of the Atlantic, the years between the two world wars witnessed the consolidation of the crime fiction genre, especially "golden age" murder mysteries and detection puzzles, and also the rise of women's romance fiction as a distinct market segment, in Britain in the late 1920s and in the United States across the following decade. Although both forms had much older precedents, together they helped constitute the booming field of " light fiction" in the interwar years. Understood as distinct from the cheapest forms of pulp, light fiction was identified as a discrete field within the mainstream of commercial fiction publishing. This new awareness can be seen in the fact that uses of the term alight fiction" in the New York Times increased from twenty-six in the 1910s to fifty-six in the 1920s and in the 1930s, after which they tapered off again. Further, in January 1934, the Times began a special reviews section, "Fiction in Lighter Vein", where romance tides were reviewed by regulars such as Beatrice Sherman; and in the same period the Saturday Review of Literature launched "Over the Counter: the Saturday Review's Guide to Romance and Adventure", a weekly chart containing one-line reviews of romances, westerns and other popular genres. It matched the paper's similar guide to detective fiction, "The Criminal Record".'  (Introduction)

(p. 161-194)
Becoming Articulate : Henry Handel Richardson and Katharine Susannah Prichard, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'From the late 1920s to the early 1940s, American reviewers were often compelled to remark on the increasing presence of Australian books and authors in the American marketplace. The publication in short succession of Henry Handel Richardson's The Fortunes of Richard Mahony trilogy (1929-30) and Katharine Susannah Prichard's Working Bullocks (1927) and Coonardoo (1930) appeared to announce Australia's literary coming of age: "Australia at last seems to have become articulate, when in so short a space of time it can produce such books as Henry Handel Richardson's Ultima Thule, Miss Prichard's own Working Bullocks and this fine story of white codes and primitive codes mixed and never fusing [Coonardoo]"; "Australia is taking her place as an important contributor to English letters ... It is no longer possible to ignore that country's claim to a definite attention") By comparison to the authors discussed in the previous chapter, Richardson and Prichard together could draw attention, not just to individual hooks by Australian authors, but to works of literature about Australia and hence to the idea of Australian literature itself. As one US reviewer put it, Ultima Thule had "brought the Australian country into the deep consciousness of reading America" and Coonardoo promised to do the same. Another concluded that "those who maintain that no literature comes out of Australia are beginning to revise their opinions as each new book is announced by Henry Handel Richardson, Katherine Susannah Pritchard [sic] and Dorothy Cottrel [sic]".' (Introduction)

(p. 195-230)
"Australia Is Very American" : Australian Historical Fiction in America 1920s-1940s, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

The previous chapter revealed how, in the early 1930s, Norton's publication of Henry Handel Richardson s Ultima Thule and the Fortunes of Richard Mahony trilogy brought Australia and its literature "deep into the consciousness of reading America' The impact of Richardson's novels was strengthened by the appearance of Katharine Susannah Prichard's Coonardoo in 1930 from the same publisher. Richardson's and Prichard's novels were in fact part of a longer sequence of ambitious Australian works published in the United States from the late 1920s to the mid 1940s. In contrast to the decline in the number of Australian novels published in America across the first three decades of the twentieth century, at the very end of the 1920s we begin to see a cluster of substantial novels appearing together - and being brought together by reviewers. Fiction publishing in general in the United States grew rapidly from a low point in 1919 to a peak in 1929; the number of titles dipped slightly through the Depression years but high levels continued until the early forties. Against this background, the pattern of publication and increased receptivity for Australian novels was sustained until the mid-forties, but with little continuity into the postwar years when many writers had, in effect, to begin again in establishing the viability of Australian work in the American marketplace. There is, then, a relatively discrete historical trajectory across the two decades from the late twenties, emerging from almost nothing and collapsing in the later forties as both cultural and industrial circumstances change.' (Introduction)

(p. 231-270)
"Australian Moderns" : Christina Stead and Patrick White in New York, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'Widely regarded as the two most important Australian writers of the twentieth century, certainly of its middle decades, the literary careers of Christina Stead and Patrick White were fundamentally shaped by the authors' American experience and more particularly by their contacts with New York publishing. Both were networked into the New York book world in ways that are rare among our examples although they recall W.W. Norton's support for Henry Handel Richardson; and, like Richardson, both for a time became part of contemporary American book talk on the state of the modern novel. Major figures in the New York book world including Clifton Fadiman, Max Schuster and Stanley Burnshaw were closely engaged in Stead's career, while Ben W. Huebsch of the Viking Press and then his successor Marshall Best were White's primary contacts in the publishing world, and much more than that in Huebsch's case. Some key reviews in the American papers, such as those by James Stern in the New York Times, were critical for White's sense that the "right readers" could be found for his challenging novels. For both authors, America was more than just a supplementary market. Stead, on the ground in New York and absorbed in its cultural politics and intellectual networks, came close to being read as an "American writer". White, by contrast, maintained his New York connections largely from a distance. Triangulated between English, American and Australian literary cultures, their writing had multiple homes but also a sense of homelessness, of not belonging easily to any single place or time. If this gave their fiction an unusual power, it also made it difficult for them to be assimilated into an evolving American or international modern tradition. In Pascale Casanova's words, "to be decreed 'modern' is one of the most difficult forms of recognition for writers outside the centre".'  (Introduction)

(p. 271-312)
Bestsellers, Modest Sellers and Commercial Failures : The Postwar Years, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'Previous chapters have demonstrated the presence of Australian novels in American print culture from the small-scale, low -key importation of British sheets for rebinding and local distribution, to the large-scale manufacture of copyrighted American editions, extended by book club circulation or reprints, sometimes with sales of hundreds of thousands of copies. Over time, Australian authors contributed to a wide variety of markets: nineteenth-century romance and pioneering narratives; a genre system that sought tales of detection, sensation, and romantic love; and more serious fare in the form of historical sagas that were taken as a sign of the emergence of a distinct and distinguished national literature. With writers such as Henry Handel Richardson, Eleanor Dark, Christina Stead and Patrick White, certain Australian novels could occasionally find a more prominent and recognisable place in the conversations of New York's book culture.' (Introduction)

(p. 313-340)
Epilogue : Completing the Triangle?, David Carter , Roger Osborne , single work criticism

'Across the century or so covered by this book, Australian novels were a consistent presence in the American marketplace even while their numbers in any particular year or publishing season were never large. Most of the novelists who would become defining, canonical figures in the articulation of an Australian literary tradition over the course of the twentieth century were published in the United States, their standing as serious authors and in certain cases as major contributors to English fiction acknowledged by American publishers, reviewers and critics (not least in their roles as book club judges). Many Australian authors also participated in and profited from the burgeoning markets on both sides of the Atlantic for light fiction or genre fiction, sometimes with careers as good-selling novelists over several decades, their books reviewed widely and favourably in the weekly book pages. Less predictably, our research has revealed a dense undergrowth of writers with more modest reputations or less obvious claims on Australian literature who were published and found different kinds of success in America. A large and diverse range of authors, as we have shown, had a small number of titles published by mainstream houses, reviewed at least briefly in the major book papers, and sometimes noticed in the bookstores - a sequence of modest successes or perhaps more commonly one big success followed by a series of "disappointments". If they made no lasting impression in the American marketplace and contributed little, if anything, to American readers' sense of Australian literature, they might nonetheless have made a small return on the publisher's investment and some additional earnings for the author. In short, these works inhabited the mainstream commercial world of books, so often characterised by the short life span of individual titles and reputations, and the small number of genuinely bestselling books. Nonetheless, it is with these ordinary mid-range titles no less than the major literary works or popular bestsellers that we see literary transnationalism in operation - a function of publishers' interests and investments as much as a specifically textual or authorial capacity, manifested in new editions as much as in new texts.'   (Introduction)

(p. 341-344)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Transnodal Keyvan Allahyari , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 413 2019; (p. 48)

— Review of Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace : 1840s-1940s David Carter , Roger Osborne , 2018 multi chapter work criticism biography
'While working in the London advertising world in the late 1960s, Peter Carey sent his stories to a leading New York literary magazine, Evergreen Review, only to be unimpressed by another rejection. He brooded later: there was ‘something glorious and futile in attempting to make Australian literature when, as everybody in London knew, [it] did not exist’. In Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace 1840s–1940s, David Carter and Roger Osborne show that the metropolitan triangle of Melbourne/Sydney–London–New York had been a publishing circuit for at least a century before Carey’s transatlantic, or, as it is appositely termed here, ‘transnodal’, misadventure. The book’s prosaic title predicts its consistently empirical approach and macroscopic canvas of the production, circulation, and afterlives of Australian literary commodity in the United States.' (Introduction)
Nicholas Birns Reviews ‘Australian Books and Others in the American Marketplace’ by David Carter and Roger Osborne Nicholas Birns , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Long Paddock , vol. 78 no. 2 2018;

'David Carter and Roger Osborne’s volume looks at publishing history as a form of literary history. The authors’ proficiency in the archive and their thoroughness of research tells a story of both the splendors and, far more, the miseries of the reception of Australian books in the United States.'  (Introduction)

‘Australia at Last Seems to Have Become Articulate’ David Carter , 2018 single work
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , November 2018;

'Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace, which I co-authored with Dr Roger Osborne, is in many ways the first in its field, the first comprehensive history of American editions of Australian works or, as it became, the first study of the careers of books and authors in the American marketplace. Evidence had been emerging in new editions of colonial texts, in occasional biographies and scattered articles, but when we began the research there was no ready answer to the most basic question — which Australian books had been published in the USA? — let alone when and how and with what effect.'   (Publication summary)

Transnodal Keyvan Allahyari , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 413 2019; (p. 48)

— Review of Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace : 1840s-1940s David Carter , Roger Osborne , 2018 multi chapter work criticism biography
'While working in the London advertising world in the late 1960s, Peter Carey sent his stories to a leading New York literary magazine, Evergreen Review, only to be unimpressed by another rejection. He brooded later: there was ‘something glorious and futile in attempting to make Australian literature when, as everybody in London knew, [it] did not exist’. In Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace 1840s–1940s, David Carter and Roger Osborne show that the metropolitan triangle of Melbourne/Sydney–London–New York had been a publishing circuit for at least a century before Carey’s transatlantic, or, as it is appositely termed here, ‘transnodal’, misadventure. The book’s prosaic title predicts its consistently empirical approach and macroscopic canvas of the production, circulation, and afterlives of Australian literary commodity in the United States.' (Introduction)
‘Australia at Last Seems to Have Become Articulate’ David Carter , 2018 single work
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , November 2018;

'Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace, which I co-authored with Dr Roger Osborne, is in many ways the first in its field, the first comprehensive history of American editions of Australian works or, as it became, the first study of the careers of books and authors in the American marketplace. Evidence had been emerging in new editions of colonial texts, in occasional biographies and scattered articles, but when we began the research there was no ready answer to the most basic question — which Australian books had been published in the USA? — let alone when and how and with what effect.'   (Publication summary)

Nicholas Birns Reviews ‘Australian Books and Others in the American Marketplace’ by David Carter and Roger Osborne Nicholas Birns , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Long Paddock , vol. 78 no. 2 2018;

'David Carter and Roger Osborne’s volume looks at publishing history as a form of literary history. The authors’ proficiency in the archive and their thoroughness of research tells a story of both the splendors and, far more, the miseries of the reception of Australian books in the United States.'  (Introduction)

Last amended 27 May 2019 09:35:54
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