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Germaine Greer Germaine Greer i(A32756 works by)
Born: Established: 1939 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Female
Expatriate assertion
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BiographyHistory

Germaine Greer was born in Melbourne and schooled at the Star of the Sea Convent. She matriculated to the University of Melbourne in 1956, then, after the award of her BA in 1959, she went to the University of Sydney to work on an MA. Her thesis on Byron earned her a Commonwealth scholarship in 1964 which she used to finance further study at Cambridge University. In 1968 she was awarded a PhD for her thesis on Shakespeare. By this time she had accepted a lectureship at the University of Warwick.

Throughout her education, Greer frequently challenged the social mores of Australian culture. Her stature, her intelligence and her ribald language intimidated her fellow students, making her a dominant presence in student life. She honed this presence as a reputable actress, eventually earning the distinction of becoming the first female member of Cambridge's famous Footlights Club. Her forthright opinions on sexuality and her objections to the patriarchal society in which she lived were often expressed publicly and sometimes found expression in various periodicals, but, after some encouragement, she collected these thoughts and wrote The Female Eunuch (1971). While the ideas in the book have been criticised by some hard-line feminists, her radical analysis of sexual stereotypes is widely regarded as one of the most important feminist documents in recent history. The popularity of the book in Europe and the United States of America made her an instant celebrity. She participated in many debates during the 1970s, including one famous encounter with Norman Mailer, and continued to write on issues first explored in her ground-breaking book. The reversal of some of these ideas in Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility (1984) drew criticism, but the publication of The Whole Woman (1999), touted by the publisher as a sequel to The Female Eunuch, shows that she remains a prominent voice in the ongoing feminist debate.

While the book most closely connected to Australian culture is her autobiography, Daddy, We Hardly Knew You (1989), Greer has also published widely in the fields of politics, indigenous affairs and culture; these works include her 2003 publication, The Boy, which traces art's obsession with male beauty and the figure of 'the boy' from ancient Greek times to the present in Western art. Greer also researched the life of Ann Hathaway and wrote, Shakespeare's Wife: The Life and Time of Ann Hathaway (2007). Greer has also been a columnist for UK newspapers and, in 2012, she began publishing a regular column in the Saturday Age.

In addition to her career as an author, Greer has held several lectureships at universities in England and the United States, following her first lectureship at the University of Warwick. She returned to the University of Warwick in the late 1990s as Professor of English and Comparative Studies.

Most Referenced Works

Notes

  • Germaine Greer was included in the Bulletin's '100 Most Influential Australians' list in 2006.

Awards for Works

White Beech : The Rainforest Years 2013 single work autobiography

'For years I had wandered Australia with an aching heart. Everywhere I had ever travelled across the vast expanse of the fabulous country where I was born I had seen devastation, denuded hills, eroded slopes, weeds from all over the world, feral animals, open-cut mines as big as cities, salt rivers, salt earth, abandoned townships, whole beaches made of beer cans...

One bright day in December 2001, sixty-two-year-old Germaine Greer found herself confronted by an irresistible challenge in the shape of sixty hectares of dairy farm, one of many in south-east Queensland that, after a century of logging, clearing and downright devastation, had been abandoned to their fate.

She didn't think for a minute that by restoring the land she was saving the world. She was in search of heart’s ease. Beyond the acres of exotic pasture grass and soft weed and the impenetrable curtains of tangled Lantana canes there were Macadamias dangling their strings of unripe nuts, and Black Beans with red and yellow pea flowers growing on their branches … and the few remaining White Beeches, stupendous trees up to forty metres in height, logged out within forty years of the arrival of the first white settlers. To have turned down even a faint chance of bringing them back to their old haunts would have been to succumb to despair.

Once the process of rehabilitation had begun, the chance proved to be a dead certainty. When the first replanting shot up to make a forest and rare caterpillars turned up to feed on the leaves of the new young trees, she knew beyond doubt that at least here biodepletion could be reversed.

Greer describes herself as an old dog who succeeded in learning a load of new tricks, inspired and rejuvenated by her passionate love of Australia and of Earth, most exuberant of small planets. ' (Publisher's blurb)

2014 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Non-Fiction
Last amended 7 May 2012 13:56:23
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