AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Moments of Being in the Fiction of Elizabeth Harrower
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In her poetic catalogues of being and experience, Emily Dickinson records the chasm between the visibility of the world, including the poetic image, and the invisibility of inner transformation. In one such poem she writes: “We can find no scar / But internal difference – / Where the Meanings, Are –”.  Elizabeth Harrower’s fiction investigates this “internal difference” in both its invisibile [sic] and its hypervisible effects, and understood in the related senses of transformation, individuation and self-division. In these representations, Harrower deploys a very particular version of the modernist epiphany or moment of being. In her novels and short stories this epiphany characteristically interweaves and disentangles the subjects and objects of the narratives. One recurring revelation exposes the ways some human subjects wire themselves and others through the objects of postwar consumer culture to expose how (mostly) women can become relegated to object status in and through these dynamics. In another mode, Harrrower’s narratives record moments of instant, electrical connection between strangers, who are otherwise isolated. Across the spectrum of these interactions, as this essay will investigate, the revelations experienced by Harrower’s characters are always intersubjective – even if the ultimate revelation is solitary and about the condition of being solitary in the world. This essay will identify at least some of the key properties of Harrower’s epiphanies and consider how they relate to narrative mode and genre by moving between her short fiction and the novels. Ranging across these different genres, in view of their respective relationships to realism and their capacities to represent temporality and causality, underscores the operations of her particular postwar, postmodern epiphany and its centrality to her understanding of being in the world.' (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Elizabeth Harrower : Critical Essays Elizabeth McMahon (editor), Brigitta Olubas (editor), Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2017 12996118 2017 anthology criticism

    'In 2014, four decades after it was written, Elizabeth Harrower's novel In Certain Circles was published to much anticipation. In 1971, it had been withdrawn by the author shortly before its planned publication. The novel's rediscovery sparked a revival of international interest in Harrower's work, with the republication of her previous novels and, in 2015, the appearance of her first new work in nearly four decades.

    'Elizabeth Harrower: Critical Essays is the first collection of critical writing on Harrower's fiction. It includes eloquent tributes by two acclaimed contemporary novelists, Michelle de Kretser and Fiona McFarlane, and essays by leading critics of Australian literature. They consider Harrower's treatment of time and place; her depiction of women, men, and their interactions in the mid twentieth century; her engagement with world history; and her nimble, complex, profoundly modern approach to plot, character and genre. Together they offer new insights into a writer at the crossroads of modernism and postmodernism, and invite readers to read and re-read Harrower's work in a new light.' (Publication summary) 

    Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2017
    pg. 137-148
Last amended 23 Jul 2020 13:25:12
137-148 Moments of Being in the Fiction of Elizabeth Harrowersmall AustLit logo
    Powered by Trove