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y separately published work icon The Watch Tower single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1966... 1966 The Watch Tower
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Breaking their poses like trees snapping branches, the women urgently regarded each other, cleared away all signs of work in an instant, examined their souls for defects, in a sense crossed themselves, and waited.

'After Laura and Clare are abandoned by their mother, Felix is there to help, even to marry Laura if she will have him. Little by little the two sisters grow complicit with his obsessions, his cruelty, his need to control.

'Set in the leafy northern suburbs of Sydney during the 1940s, The Watch Tower is a novel of relentless and acute psychological power.' (Publication summary)

Notes

  • Also published in braille and sound recording format(s).

Contents

* Contents derived from the Melbourne, Victoria,:Text Publishing , 2012 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Introduction, Joan London , 2012 single work criticism

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • North Ryde, Ryde - Gladesville - Hunters Hill area, Northwest Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales,: London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Angus and Robertson ,
      1977 .
      Extent: 218p.
      ISBN: 0207136327
    • North Ryde, Ryde - Gladesville - Hunters Hill area, Northwest Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales,: Angus and Robertson , 1987 .
      Extent: 218p.
      Edition info: Sirius paperback.
      ISBN: 0207158665
    • North Ryde, Ryde - Gladesville - Hunters Hill area, Northwest Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales,: Angus and Robertson , 1991 .
      image of person or book cover 4610207244625279380.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 218p.
      Edition info: Imprint edition.
      ISBN: 0207168830 (pbk.)
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2012 .
      image of person or book cover 5415164506843382508.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 352p.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date: 26 April. 2012.
      ISBN: 9781921922428
      Series: y separately published work icon Text Classics Text Publishing (publisher), Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2012- Z1851461 2012 series - publisher novel 'Great books by great Australian storytellers.' (Text website.)
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2016 .
      image of person or book cover 7569753573921053680.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 352p.
      Edition info: Collectors Edition
      Note/s:
      • Published 28th November 2016
      ISBN: 9781925355895
Alternative title: 瞭望塔
Transliterated title: Liao Wang Ta
Language: Chinese

Works about this Work

[Review Essay] : Elizabeth Harrower, The Watch Tower (Text, 2012) Jennifer Osborn , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , May vol. 9 no. 2 2017;
'Adelaide Writers’ Week 2017 was dedicated to Elizabeth Harrower. The address in praise of her work stated, ‘Admired by her contemporaries, including Patrick White and Christina Stead, Harrower is being read again. All of her books are back in print, and she is enjoying success here in Australia as well as internationally. She is being lauded by a new generation of writers and critics and being read by ever increasing audiences.' (Introduction)
Garden Plots Emma Ashmere , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Northerly : The Northern Rivers Writers' Centre Magazine , July-August 2015; (p. 12-13)
An overview of Emma Ashmere's favourite gardens in Australian literature.
Australian Lit. Ramona Koval , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: World Literature Today , 1 May vol. 88 no. 3/4 2014; (p. 6)

— Review of The Watch Tower Elizabeth Harrower , 1966 single work novel ; Romulus, My Father Raimond Gaita , 1998 single work biography ; Benang : From the Heart Kim Scott , 1999 single work novel ; The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan , 2013 single work novel
Elizabeth Harrower and Portishead – A Perfect Literary and Music Match? Nikki Lusk , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 23 January 2014;
Literary Christmas Presents : Romy Ash on The Watch Tower Bethanie Blanchard , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 16 December 2013;
The Watch Tower Michelle De Kretser , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Monthly , June no. 79 2012; (p. 63)

— Review of The Watch Tower Elizabeth Harrower , 1966 single work novel
Vanity Fare Salley Vickers , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 30 June-1 July 2012; (p. 32-33)

— Review of The Watch Tower Elizabeth Harrower , 1966 single work novel
'Too Many Vampires' Kerryn Goldsworthy , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , October no. 345 2012; (p. 12, 14)

— Review of The Watch Tower Elizabeth Harrower , 1966 single work novel
[Review] The Watch Tower Michael Green , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Lifted Brow , no. 14 2012; (p. 27)

— Review of The Watch Tower Elizabeth Harrower , 1966 single work novel
New Paperbacks Robin Lucas , 1991 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 13 July 1991; (p. 42)

— Review of May Week Was in June : Unreliable Memoirs Continued Clive James , 1990 single work autobiography ; No Place for a Woman Mayse Young , 1991 single work autobiography ; The Watch Tower Elizabeth Harrower , 1966 single work novel
The Solid Mandala and Patrick White’s Late Modernity Nicholas Birns , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , November vol. 4 no. 1 2011;
'This essay contends that the Australian novelist Patrick White (1912-1990) presents, in his novel The Solid Mandala (1966), a prototypical evocation of late modernity that indicates precisely why and how it was different from the neoliberal and postmodern era that succeeded it. Late modernity is currently emerging as a historical period, though still a nascent and contested one. Robert Hassan speaks of the 1950-1970 era as a period which, in its 'Fordist' mode of production maintained a certain conformity yet held off the commoditisation of later neoliberalism's 'network-driven capitalism'. This anchors the sense of 'late modernity,' that will operate in this essay, though my sense of the period also follows on definitions of the term established, in very different contexts, by Edward Lucie-Smith and Tyrus Miller.' (Author's introduction)
Australian Literature : Elizabeth Harrower Gay Alcorn , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 6 May 2012; (p. 18-19)
'Gay Alcorn talks to Elizabeth Harrower, who was one of the country's most celebrated author's until she stopped writing 40 years ago.'
Written in the Past Tense Gay Alcorn , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 6 May 2012; (p. 15)
Gay Alcorn reports on the first interview with Elizabeth Harrower in more than two decades.
Museum Mentality Who Killed Australian Literature? Geordie Williamson , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 20-21 October 2012; (p. 8-9)
Turning Inward on Himself : Male Hysteria in Elizabeth Harrower's The Watch Tower Naomi Riddle , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 72 no. 1 2012; (p. 204-213)
'The much-maligned character of Felix Shaw in Elizabeth Harrower's The Watch Tower (1966) has consistently been described as the "embodiment of total inexplicable evil", "of motiveless malignity"; he is a caricature of a violent, sadistic and misogynistic husband who tortures his wife Laura, and her younger sister Clare, into submission (Clancy 463). Harrower charts Laura and Clare's gradual disintegration within the prison of their suburban house overlooking Sydney harbour, a gradual unraveling towards "craven, total submission", which ultimately results in Clare being granted a form of freedom at her sister's expense (Harrower 89). Much of the criticism on Harrower stems from the 1980s and 1990s, when her work was taken up by feminists eager to hold up The Watch Tower as a lesson on the oppression of women in the post-war period. From this perspective Harrower's construction of Felix serves as a warning, a modern fairy tale that exposes the sadistic impulses of patriarchy, and the prison of the suburban domestic space. A telling case in point is the essay "What Does Women Mean? Reading, Writing and Reproduction" (1983), in which leading critic Sneja Gunew argues that The Watch Tower is structured as an "elaborate cautionary tale", a reworking of the classic "gothic [narrative] in which women are traditionally caged up and their lives threatened" (119). The text is "a salutary lesson", with Clare's ability to escape Felix's grasp high lighting the importance of maintaining the integrity of female selfhood, despite the way the text deliberately denies the reader any form of cohesive resolution or satisfactory solution at the end of the novel (119). So, too, in an interview with Harrower when The Watch Tower was republished as a TextClassic in 2012, the Sydney Morning Herald described the novel as a "thriller", and Felix as "unhappy, meanspirited" and "one of the most superbly drawn evil characters in Australian literature" (Alcorn). The epithet "evil", whilst no doubt applicable to Felix, perpetuates the understanding of the figure as a caricature, a fairytale villain.' (Author's abstract)
Last amended 11 Oct 2018 12:11:09
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