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y separately published work icon The Man Who Loved Children single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1940... 1940 The Man Who Loved Children
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Set in Washington during the 1930s, Sam and Henny Pollit are a warring husband and wife. Their tempestuous marriage, aggravated by too little money, lies at the centre of Stead's satirical and brilliantly observed novel about the relations between husbands and wives, and parents and children.

'Sam, a scientist, uses words as weapons of attack and control on his children and is prone to illusions of power and influence that fail to extend beyond his family. His wife Henny, who hails from a wealthy Baltimore family, is disastrously impractical and enmeshed in her own fantasies of romance and vengeance. Much of the care of their six children is left to Louisa, Sam's 14-year-old daughter from his first marriage. Within this psychological battleground, Louisa must attempt to make a life of her own.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (MUP).

Exhibitions

18005830
18005672

Reading Australia

Reading Australia

This work has Reading Australia teaching resources.

Unit Suitable For AC: Senior Secondary Literature (Unit 4)

Curriculum Summary

Find a summary table for Australian Curriculum: English content descriptions and NSW Syllabus outcomes for this unit.

Themes

adolescence, childhood, coming of age, family, relationships, teenagers, trauma

General Capabilities

Contents

* Contents derived from the New York (City), New York (State),
c
United States of America (USA),
c
Americas,
:
Holt, Rinehart and Winston , 1965 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
An Unread Book, Randall Jarrell , single work criticism

Written as an introduction to the 1965 reprint of The Man Who Loved Children, American critic Jarrell's 'enthusiastic' essay stimulated a revaluation of Christina Stead's work. (Oxford Companion to Australian Literature). The essay has been reprinted in numerous editions of the novel since 1965.

(p. v-xli)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Notes:
The introductions by Randall Jarrell noted below are all reprints of the 1965 introduction entitled 'An Unread Book'.
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Simon and Schuster ,
      1940 .
      image of person or book cover 6639722110938950605.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 527p.
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Peter Davies ,
      1941 .
      Extent: 480p.
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Secker and Warburg ,
      1966 .
      Extent: xli, 527p.p.
      Edition info: Reprinted from American first edition.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Randall Jarrell.
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Avon Books ,
      1966 .
      image of person or book cover 174498251463415108.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 504p.
      Note/s:
      • Afterword by Randall Jarrell
    • Harmondsworth, Middlesex,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Penguin Books ,
      1975 .
      image of person or book cover 2028290867639929114.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 523p.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Randall Jarrell.
      ISBN: 014002834X
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Secker and Warburg ,
      1976 .
      image of person or book cover 4589553869912006722.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: xli, 527p.p.
      Edition info: Reprinted from American first edition.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Randall Jarrell.
      ISBN: 0436489015
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Holt, Rinehart and Winston ,
      1980 .
      image of person or book cover 2645740837810874919.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: xli, 527p.p.
      Edition info: Reprinted from American first edition.
      Note/s:
      • 'An Owl Book'
      • Introduction by Randall Jarrell.
      ISBN: 0805004998
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Flamingo ,
      1993 .
      image of person or book cover 8035065011447043229.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 522p.
      Description: illus., ports.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Angela Carter.
      ISBN: 0006546862 (pbk), 0006546862
    • Pymble, Turramurra - Pymble - St Ives area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Angus and Robertson , 1994 .
      Extent: xli, 527p.p.
      Edition info: Reprinted from American first edition.
      ISBN: 020718206X
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      David Campbell ,
      1995 .
      image of person or book cover 1715762110897287479.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: xxxvii, 529p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Doris Lessing.
      ISBN: 1857152077
      Series: Everyman's Library series - publisher Number in series: 207
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Knopf ,
      1995 .
      image of person or book cover 2121060329500102222.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 529p.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Doris Lessing.
      ISBN: 0679443649, 9780679443643
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Picador ,
      2001 .
      image of person or book cover 6558173511207428077.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: xli, 527p.p.
      Edition info: Reprinted from American first edition.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Randall Jarrell.
      ISBN: 0312280440
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Capuchin Classics ,
      2010 .
      image of person or book cover 8145162384320296172.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 512p.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date: May 2010.
      ISBN: 9781907429002
    • Carlton, Parkville - Carlton area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,: Miegunyah Press , 2010 .
      image of person or book cover 904927972418638435.png
      Image courtesy of Melbourne University Publishing
      Extent: xvi, 551p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Jonathan Franzen.
      • Includes the 1965 introductory essay by Randall Jarrell.
      • Also available as an e-book.
      • Published in December 2010.
      ISBN: 9780522855548 (pbk.), 9780522864809 (e-book)
      Series: y separately published work icon Miegunyah Modern Library Miegunyah Press (publisher), Miegunyah Press , 2010- Z1807646 2010 series - publisher
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Head of Zeus ,
      2016 .
      image of person or book cover 7709889266448969292.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 553p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Introduction by Michael Schmidt.

      ISBN: 9781784971700 (ebook), 9781784971489 (pbk)
Alternative title: Sabba Familiare
Language: Italian
    • Milan,
      c
      Italy,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Garzanti ,
      1978 .
      image of person or book cover 1907796316213727256.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 512p.
      Note/s:
      • Other issues, 1992.

Other Formats

  • Braille.
  • Sound recording.
  • Large print.

Works about this Work

'Shut Up Or I’ll Shut You Up' : Family Violence In Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children Samantha Lewis , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Philament , September no. 25 2019;
'In an essay for The New York Times titled “Rereading The Man Who Loved Children,” author Jonathan Franzen writes the following of Christina Stead’s famous 1940 novel: it “operates at a pitch of psychological violence that makes Revolutionary Road look like Everybody Loves Raymond.” The novel, Franzen further suggests, is “so retrograde as to accept what we would call ‘abuse’ as a natural feature of the familial landscape” and intrudes “on our better-regulated world like a bad dream from the grandparental past.” The Man Who Loved Children follows the experiences of the dysfunctional Pollit family, which consists of Samuel (“Sam”) Pollit, Sam’s second wife Henny Collyer, and their six children. It chronicles the family’s attempt to navigate the destabilised political and cultural landscape of Washington, DC, in the 1930s and during the Great Depression.2 Despite the novel’s pleasant-sounding (and ironic) title, even the most cursory reading of the book reveals the shocking scope and volume of abuse and violence between its covers—violence ranging from verbal insults and threats through to physical assault, gaslighting, surveillance, rape, murder, and suicide. While the novel’s violence is primarily perpetrated by Sam and directed towards Henny and their children, some violence is also perpetrated by Henny and directed towards Sam and the children. Despite the novel’s shocking depictions of abuse, Franzen characterises the violence as “a potentially comic feature”—extreme to the point of absurdity. Indeed, for those not familiar with the complexities and realities of family violence, the language and behaviours of the novel’s characters may at first appear unbelievable, even melodramatic. But a reading of the novel that takes the characters’ violence seriously—particularly in light of Hazel Rowley’s claim that that the novel constitutes a recount of Stead’s traumatic childhood “exactly word for word”3—suggests not only that the The Man Who Loved Children is a believable violence narrative, but one that is consistent with several theories of family violence expounded in the social sciences over the last two decades. In this article, I propose to reread Stead’s novel in light of these contemporary sociological theories of violence, and to demonstrate that family violence has changed very little in the 70 years since the novel’s publication. Indeed, as I will argue, The Man Who Loved Children contains one of the most nuanced and insightful explorations of family violence in twentieth-century Australian fiction.' (Introduction)
y separately published work icon Christina Stead and the Matter of America Fiona Morrison , Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2019 17267523 2019 multi chapter work criticism

'Although Christina Stead is best known for the mid-century masterpiece set in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, The Man Who Loved Children, it was not her only work about the America. Five of Christina Stead’s mid-career novels deal with the United States, capturing and critiquing American life with characteristic sharpness and originality.

'In this examination of Stead’s American work, Fiona Morrison explores Stead’s profound engagement with American politics and culture and their influence on her “restlessly experimental” style. Through the turbulent political and artistic debates of the 1930s, the Second World War, and the emergence of McCarthyism, the “matter” of America provoked Stead to continue to create new ways of writing about politics, gender and modernity.

'This is the first critical study to focus on Stead’s time in America and its influence on her writing. Morrison argues compellingly that Stead’s American novels “reveal the work of the greatest political woman writer of the mid twentieth century”, and that Stead’s account of American ideology and national identity remains extraordinarily prescient, even today.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

A Rebel and a Wanderer : Christina Stead Ann-Marie Priest , 2018 single work biography
— Appears in: A Free Flame : Australian Women Writers and Vocation in the Twentieth Century 2018;

'Christina Stead was always prickly about the idea of vocation. Indeed, she often insisted to interviewers that she had never had any such thing. Yet in her semi-autobiographical novel The Man Who Loved Children, she gave the character based on herself, 12-year-old Louisa, a potent sense of predestination. In one scene, Louie is cleaning her brothers' bedroom and dreaming of being an actress. Her father has just finished telling her that she looks like a gutter-rat, while downstairs her stepmother is grumbling about her 'dirt and laziness'. Her younger sister is about to ask her to carry down the slop bucket. But Louie is far away, 'declaiming...to a vast, shadowy audience stretching away into an opera house as large as the world'. Her conviction that she is extraordinary saves her from the catastrophe that is her home life. 'If I did not know I was a genius, I would die', she declares — but to herself alone. She is the ugly duckling, whose future as a glorious swan will, she knows, take her far away from the chaos and violence around her.'  (Introduction)

Bold Women in Print Grace Blakeley-Carroll , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Unbound : The National Library of Australia Magazine , September 2017;

'Curator Grace Blakeley-Carroll looks at early twentieth-century Australian female writers and the publishing industry.'

Matriduxy? : Tracing Colonial Adumbration in Australian Womanhood Via a Psychoanalytical Reading of Christina Stead Theresa Holtby , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia , vol. 8 no. 1 2017; (p. 1-29)

'This paper surveys the ways in which women have been regarded, represented and treated in colonial and post-colonial Australia. In particular, the concept of matriduxy—the alleged dominance of women in Australian families—is explored, in part via a discussion of Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children. Possible connections between matriduxy and colonial conditions are identified, specifically in the context of the imperialist ideals of masochistic fantasy.' (Publication abstract)

[Review] The Man Who Loved Children Michelle De Kretser , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: The Monthly , November no. 62 2010; (p. 64)

— Review of The Man Who Loved Children Christina Stead , 1940 single work novel
An Embattled Marriage Kay Dick , 1966 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Times (London) , 26 June 1966; (p. 48)

— Review of Seven Poor Men of Sydney Christina Stead , 1934 single work novel ; The Man Who Loved Children Christina Stead , 1940 single work novel
Christina Stead Continues Clifton Fadiman , 1940 single work review
— Appears in: The New Yorker , 19 October no. 16 1940; (p. 84-86)

— Review of The Man Who Loved Children Christina Stead , 1940 single work novel
Enter 'Pollitry' N. L. Rothman , 1940 single work review
— Appears in: Saturday Review of Literature , 16 November no. 23 1940; (p. 12)

— Review of The Man Who Loved Children Christina Stead , 1940 single work novel
Scalpel, Please Louis B. Salomon , 1940 single work review
— Appears in: The Nation , 26 October vol. 151 no. 17 1940; (p. 399)

— Review of The Man Who Loved Children Christina Stead , 1940 single work novel
A Walk around the World : Home and Homelessness in the Work of Christina Stead Janette Turner Hospital , 1998 single work criticism
— Appears in: Janette Turner Hospital 1998; (p. 1-16)
A Note on Christina Stead and China Jianjun Li , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 2 no. 2003; (p. 93-97)
Discusses the representations of China and Chinese people in Christina Stead's work.
An Unread Book Randall Jarrell , 1965 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Man Who Loved Children 1965; (p. v-xli) Atlantic Monthly , vol. 215 no. 3 1965; (p. 166-71)

Written as an introduction to the 1965 reprint of The Man Who Loved Children, American critic Jarrell's 'enthusiastic' essay stimulated a revaluation of Christina Stead's work. (Oxford Companion to Australian Literature). The essay has been reprinted in numerous editions of the novel since 1965.

Feminism and Male Chauvinism in the Writings of Christina Stead (1902-1983) Heather Stewart , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Hecate , vol. 29 no. 2 2003; (p. 113-122)
A Voyage Round Her Father Peter Craven , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 30-31 July 2005; (p. 6)
Last amended 17 Sep 2019 11:09:51
Subjects:
  • c
    Singapore,
    c
    Southeast Asia, South and East Asia, Asia,
Settings:
  • Washington (State),
    c
    United States of America (USA),
    c
    Americas,
  • 1930s
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