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Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Aileen Palmer – poet, translator, political activist, adventurer – was the daughter of two writers prominent in Australian literature in the first half of the twentieth century. Vance and Nettie Palmer were well known as novelists, poets, critics and journalists, and Nettie suspected that their eldest would grow up with ‘ink in her veins’.

'Aileen certainly inherited her parents’ talents, publishing poetry, translating the work of Ho Chi Minh, and recording what she referred to as ‘semi-fictional bits of egocentric writing’. She also absorbed their interest in leftist politics, joining the Communist Party at university. This, combined with her bravery, led to participation in the Spanish Civil War and the ambulance service in London during World War II.

'The return to Australia was not easy, and Aileen never successfully reintegrated into civilian life. In Ink in Her Veins Sylvia Martin paints an honest and moving portrait in which we see a talented woman slowly brought down by war, family expectations, and psychiatric illness and the sometimes cruel ‘treatments’ common in the 20th century.' (Publication summary)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Crawley, Inner Perth, Perth, Western Australia,: UWA Publishing , 2016 .
      image of person or book cover 2339921706658829746.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 350p.
      Note/s:
      • Published March 2016
      ISBN: 9781742588254

Works about this Work

Review of Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer, by Sylvia Martin Georgina Arnott , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , 19 December vol. 34 no. 2 2020;

— Review of Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Sylvia Martin , 2016 single work biography
'Ink in Her Veins is the first book-length biography of Aileen Palmer: poet, socialist and daughter to Australia’s most renowned literary couple, Nettie and Vance Palmer. Sylvia Martin has written a precise, penetrating but humane account of Palmer’s life. She has carefully gathered and drawn on evidence for her claims, speculating in a reasoned way when sources are scant. She has fulfilled the biographer’s brief. Beyond this, the book asks big questions about the biographical endeavour, principally whether a life lived around the margins – albeit the margins of cultural, intellectual and political centres – is a life worth telling.' (Introduction)
[Review] Ink in Her Veins Frank Bongiorno , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Journal of Biography and History , October no. 2 2019; (p. 173-177)

— Review of Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Sylvia Martin , 2016 single work biography
Writing Aileen Palmer Back Into Memory Donna Lee Brien , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Women's Book Review , vol. 28 no. 1 2019; (p. 47-51)
'AILEEN Palmer was a poet and author in a wide range of other genres. She was also a linguist with an advanced grasp of a number of languages—putting this to good use in sensitive translations. A political activist, she lived and worked in Australia and overseas and both her work and her name deserve to be better known. Sylvia Martin’s beautifully written and carefully researched biography of Aileen certainly makes a major contribution to that task. The title of Martin’s biography suggests that, as the eldest daughter of two important Australian writers, Nettie Palmer and Vance Palmer, its subject was born into a writing life. This other main theme of this biography is suggested in its subtitle as not only did Aileen Palmer have “ink in her veins”, she also had a “troubled life.” These dual concerns—with her various writings and the turmoil and distresses she experienced—make for a finely balanced and nuanced life study.' (Introduction)
Sylvia Martin. Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Cheryl M. Taylor , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 2 2018;

'This book’s title invites readers to respond to the life of the elder daughter of Vance and Nettie Palmer as one of sadness and struggle. Indeed, emotional deprivation and unrealised creativity are recurring themes. Yet a further dimension, that of heroism, emerges as the narrative reveals Aileen Palmer to have been a woman of exceptional courage, strength and intellectual gifts. Born on 6 April 1915, she joined the Communist Party of Australia at seventeen and for two yearsin her early twenties fought as an interpreter and hospital organiser for the British Medical Unit and the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. She later declared: ‘Spain stands out in my own life like a beacon-light’ (qtd. Martin 279). From 1940 to 1943 she continued the fight against fascism by serving as an ambulance driver in the London Blitz. A widely recognised outcome of World War II was a temporary loosening of gender restrictions in Western countries. Even so, Aileen succeeded in living out adventures and friendships—and in dealing with frightful realities—that were denied to most Australian girls and women of her generation. Despite the miseries and tumults that afflicted her after her return to Australia in September 1945, Aileen Palmer’s life should inspire as much celebration as regret.' (Introduction)

[Review] Ink in Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Laurie Hergenhan , 2017 single work review
— Appears in: Queensland Review , December vol. 24 no. 2 2017; (p. 319-320)

— Review of Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Sylvia Martin , 2016 single work biography

'This book takes its title from the ambivalent hopes and fears of the young, pregnant Nettie Palmer for her first-born, Aileen (1915–88). After graduating from the University of Melbourne with first-class honours in French, Aileen accompanied her parents on a trip to England in 1935. In her later years at university, she was caught up as a young communist in protest causes. Activism and writing were to become ‘the two great passions of her life’.' (Introduction)

A Daughter's Missing Life Drusilla Modjeska , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 16-17 April 2016; (p. 30) The Age , 16-17 April 2016; (p. 30)

— Review of Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Sylvia Martin , 2016 single work biography
Ink in Her Veins Review: The Sad Life of Vance and Nettie Palmer's Daughter Drusilla Modjeska , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane Times , 14 April 2016;

— Review of Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Sylvia Martin , 2016 single work biography
Fragments Susan Lever , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , June-July no. 382 2016; (p. 29)

— Review of Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Sylvia Martin , 2016 single work biography
Phillip Hall Reviews Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer by Sylvia Martin Phillip Hall , 2016 single work
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , October no. 55.1 2016;

— Review of Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Sylvia Martin , 2016 single work biography
Writing in the Shadow : the Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Ingeborg van Teeseling , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: History Australia , vol. 13 no. 3 2016; (p. 451-452)

— Review of Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Sylvia Martin , 2016 single work biography
Aileen Palmer : Political Activist and 'Poet of Conscience Sylvia Martin , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 75 no. 3 2016; (p. 185-205)
Sylvia Martin presents an account of Aileen Palmer's life, her work and her activism and her struggle to overcome the effects of her experiences during the second World War.
Book Review : ‘We Need a Nice New Goddess’ Deborah Jordan , 2016 single work review essay
— Appears in: Outskirts : Feminisms along the Edge , November no. 35 2016;
'Let’s state the obvious. Ink in Her Veins, the Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer, poet, translator, activist, and mad woman and psychiatric patient, is a biography that should be read by every Australian feminist, every Australian gay person and should find an international readership. It’s the enthralling tale of a woman caught out in the maelstrom of her times. The stories we tell ourselves about our lives, about our choices, and about our culture profoundly shape our decisions and our actions. In many ways Ink in Her Veins is paradigmatic. Let’s first outline the bare facts of Aileen Palmer’s life as so ably marshalled by Sylvia Martin, before delving into broader questions about how we may understand our past to better frame our futures.' (Introduction)
[Review Essay] Ink in Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Judith Keene , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , May vol. 41 no. 2 2017; (p. 271-273)
'Sylvia Martin's moving biography tracks the life of Aileen Palmer and provides great insight into the lives of the Palmer family. Aileen was the elder daughter of Nettie and Vance Palmer, leading figures in Australian literary and intellectual circles between the wars. Aileen's younger sister, Helen, in her own right, became a distinguished Australian writer and activist in left wing politics. With great sensitivity and deftness, Martin lays out the preoccupations of Aileen and her family and the patterns that formatted their relations: between parents and children, and sister to sister. Martin also tracks, in Aileen's later years, the increasing concern of Vance and Nettie with their daughter's mental illness and, after Vance's death, the more and more fraught nature of the contact between Aileen and her mother.' (Introduction)
Sylvia Martin. Ink in Her Veins : The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer Cheryl M. Taylor , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 17 no. 2 2018;

'This book’s title invites readers to respond to the life of the elder daughter of Vance and Nettie Palmer as one of sadness and struggle. Indeed, emotional deprivation and unrealised creativity are recurring themes. Yet a further dimension, that of heroism, emerges as the narrative reveals Aileen Palmer to have been a woman of exceptional courage, strength and intellectual gifts. Born on 6 April 1915, she joined the Communist Party of Australia at seventeen and for two yearsin her early twenties fought as an interpreter and hospital organiser for the British Medical Unit and the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. She later declared: ‘Spain stands out in my own life like a beacon-light’ (qtd. Martin 279). From 1940 to 1943 she continued the fight against fascism by serving as an ambulance driver in the London Blitz. A widely recognised outcome of World War II was a temporary loosening of gender restrictions in Western countries. Even so, Aileen succeeded in living out adventures and friendships—and in dealing with frightful realities—that were denied to most Australian girls and women of her generation. Despite the miseries and tumults that afflicted her after her return to Australia in September 1945, Aileen Palmer’s life should inspire as much celebration as regret.' (Introduction)

Writing Aileen Palmer Back Into Memory Donna Lee Brien , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Women's Book Review , vol. 28 no. 1 2019; (p. 47-51)
'AILEEN Palmer was a poet and author in a wide range of other genres. She was also a linguist with an advanced grasp of a number of languages—putting this to good use in sensitive translations. A political activist, she lived and worked in Australia and overseas and both her work and her name deserve to be better known. Sylvia Martin’s beautifully written and carefully researched biography of Aileen certainly makes a major contribution to that task. The title of Martin’s biography suggests that, as the eldest daughter of two important Australian writers, Nettie Palmer and Vance Palmer, its subject was born into a writing life. This other main theme of this biography is suggested in its subtitle as not only did Aileen Palmer have “ink in her veins”, she also had a “troubled life.” These dual concerns—with her various writings and the turmoil and distresses she experienced—make for a finely balanced and nuanced life study.' (Introduction)
Last amended 8 Jan 2016 08:23:43
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