AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2010... 2010 The ‘American Dilemma’: Christina Stead’s Cold War Anatomy
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'After a year in New York in 1935-1936, Christina Stead commented that "the whole spirit of New York is opposed to the creative mind". Yet America and Americans became the matter of five of her subsequent novels. After a leftwing Australian background and a number of years in socialist milieus in London and Paris, Stead was an intriguing reader of 1940s America. In her late American work, I'm Dying Laughing (begun 1949, published 1986), Stead became that most precarious of things - a leftwing critic of the Left during the early Cold War. Desire for success and the accompanying fear of failure are thematised by Stead as "the American dilemma" - the contradictory relationship between collective action and individual survival at the heart of American national identity that she saw as no less forceful and tragic for many on the Left.' (Author's abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Reading Across the Pacific : Australia-United States Intellectual Histories Robert Dixon (editor), Nicholas Birns (editor), Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2010 Z1754436 2010 anthology criticism 'Reading Across the Pacific is a study of literary and cultural engagement between the United States and Australia from a contemporary interdisciplinary perspective. The book examines the relations of the two countries, shifting the emphasis from the broad cultural patterns that are often compared, to the specific networks, interactions, and crossings that have characterised Australian literature in the United States and American literature in Australia.
    In the twenty-first century, both American and Australian literatures are experiencing new challenges to the very different paradigms of literary history and criticism each inherited from the twentieth century. In response to these challenges, scholars of both literatures are seizing the opportunity to reassess and reconfigure the conceptual geography of national literary spaces as they are reformed by vectors that evade or exceed them, including the transnational, the local and the global.
    The essays in Reading Across the Pacific are divided into five sections: National Literatures and Transnationalism, Poetry and Poetics, Literature and Popular Culture, The Cold War, and Publishing History and Transpacific Print Cultures' (Source: Publisher's website).
    Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2010
    pg. 241-253
Last amended 23 Feb 2011 14:16:42
241-253 The ‘American Dilemma’: Christina Stead’s Cold War Anatomysmall AustLit logo
    Powered by Trove