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Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 "Australian Moderns" : Christina Stead and Patrick White in New York
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'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)


  • Epigraph: "I am at home in good old, bad old NY.' —Christina Stead 1979' 

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Australian Books and Authors in the American Marketplace : 1840s-1940s David Carter , Roger Osborne , Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2018 14035789 2018 multi chapter work criticism biography

    '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)

    Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2018
    pg. 271-312
Last amended 19 Nov 2018 13:20:34
271-312 "Australian Moderns" : Christina Stead and Patrick White in New Yorksmall AustLit logo