'Beatrice Davis was the general editor for the Sydney publishing firm Angus & Robertson (A&R) from the late 1930s to the early 1970s and a central figure in the literary culture and production of books in Australia. In her role as publisher's reader and head of A&R's large general editorial department, her judgement of literary fiction held sway in Australian publishing for over three decades at a time when A&R was regarded as the pre-eminent publisher In addition, she was an office holder in the Australian English Association, a judge on the Bulletin's S.H Prior Memorial Prize novel competition, and a judge on the Miles Franklin Award from its inception in 1957 to her death in 1992. Her dismissal from A&R in 1973 has been regarded as a symbolic moment in the transformations underway in publishing at that time. It is largely through Beatrice Davis that a new generation of book editors has come both to connect with a long tradition of editing and to measure the distance between that tradition and today's editing context.' (from Author's introduction)
Carol Hetherington investigates the inclusion of Australian authors in Doubleday's Crime Club lists in the period 1943-1954. She argues 'that the important common factor in their selection by Doubleday was not that they were Australian writers, but rather that they were mystery writers, and that their commercial success resulted from their acceptance into the mystery 'freemasonary' - a close-knit fraternity of editors, reviewers, publishing firms and mail-order mystery book clubs - in which the Doubleday Crime Club was the pre-eminent player.' (31)
'This essay describes the place of reading in the life of Irene Longman (1877-1962), the first woman elected to the Queensland parliament. It shows how Longman valued reading as a practice that enriched personal life, fostered civic virtue and defined a realm of citizenship for newly enfranchised women. Its profile of Longman's public career highlights the connection between reading and rhetoric, the arts of persuasion and liberal democracy. It also draws attention to the importance of associational life in promoting women's public participation.' (Author's introduction)
'Much of the evidence used in researching the history of individuals' reading preferences and practices i elusive and transient. Most individuals to not leave material traces - why would they? - of an activity which nonetheless, in many cases, occupies a significant proportion of their waking lives; and the traces that some of them do leave are often enigmatic or ambiguous. The 'personal library', however - by which I mean a collection of books acquired over a period of time by a specific individual (as distinct from a family or an institution) - may reasonably be regarded with some optimism as a potentially rich source of information, at least about that individual's reading history, and perhaps also about wider patterns of reading behavior which he or she may exemplify.' (Author's introduction)
'The Letters of Rachel Henning is the best-selling collection of correspondence ever published in Australia. Covering the years 1853 to 1882, the letters were first serialised in the Bulletin in 1951-1952 (edited by David Adams and illustrated by Norman LIndsay), nearly forty years after Rachel Henning's death. Since then, they have been published in book form in nine separate editions, and remained in print for nearly fifty years. In October 2006, the book was posted online, unillustrated, as a Project Gutenberg Australia title. I propose to discuss the editing of the original letters, and examine the paratexts and the various publishing strategies that allowed the collection to be marketed successfully, over many years, to a diverse readership whose reasons for finding the collection so appealing varied with the passage of time. (Author's introduction)
'...When Lucy Sussex's own clever detective work revealed that the pseudynoms of W.W. and Waif Wander belonged to Fortune, an exciting chapter in colonial literary history was opened. Sussex has demonstrated convincingly that Fortune's output was prodigious: the sheer volume of her contributions published in the Australian Journal between 1865 and 1908 demands recognition, as does their quality. This essay argues that in addition to the pseudonyms identified by Sussex, at least one other set of works in the Australian Journal were written by Fortune, If, as I suggest, this work is Fortune's, it effectively doubles the number of urban observations written by her and published in the Australian Journal, and further underlines her importance in colonial literary history and women's history.' (from Author's introduction)
This essay examines Rosa Praed's communication 'through letters, agreements, publisher's ledgers, and memoirs of her dealings with one of her early publishers, George Bentley of Richard Bentley & Son. These dealings were essentially professional and financial, but they were also educative and personal. George Bentley was one of several male mentors during Praed's first decade of publishing, but the only one who was both mentor and publisher....' (108)
'Paul Eggert writes on the discovery of Henry Lawson's prose sketch 'Selection Farms'.