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y separately published work icon Mr Scobie's Riddle single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1983... 1983 Mr Scobie's Riddle
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Mr Scobie's arrival at the nursing home of St Christopher and St Jude - and descent into the clutches of Matron Hyacinth Price - is accidental. Adrift in his own memories but preserving a gentle politesse, Mr Scobie stands apart from the others.

'For long-term resident and eccentric, Miss Hailey, he represents a kindred spirit; for Matron Price - a lady of questionable practices - the latest victim.

'This bleakly comic investigation of old age, exile and displacement shows Elizabeth Jolley at her finest. It is written with wry humour, melancholy and great warmth.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Modern Classics ed.).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 1983 .
      image of person or book cover 5850036641369724702.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 226p.
      ISBN: 014006656X
    • Harmondsworth, Middlesex,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Penguin ,
      1985 .
      image of person or book cover 2481725964448586444.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 226p.
      ISBN: 0140074902(pbk.)
    • Camberwell, Camberwell - Kew area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2010 .
      image of person or book cover 2916694128890340103.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 226p.p.
      ISBN: 9780143180210, 0143180215
      Series: Penguin Modern Classics series - publisher
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Persea Books ,
      2012 .
      image of person or book cover 6630407476949140895.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 226p.p.
      ISBN: 9780892553693, 0892553693
Alternative title: L'enigma di mr Scobie
Language: Italian
    • Rome,
      c
      Italy,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Elliot ,
      2014 .
      image of person or book cover 4757560614627801965.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 247p.p.
      ISBN: 9788861924154, 8861924158

Other Formats

  • Also braille, sound recording, large print.

Works about this Work

Space and Language in Mr Scobie's Riddle : Translating Displacement into Italian Anna Gadd , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 1 2014;
'The relationship between space and language is brought up and questioned in Elizabeth Jolley’s Mr Scobie’s Riddle through the displacement felt by the three male patients of Room One of the nursing home in which the novel is set. The patients desire to go back to the lives they were leading before entering the hospital, and return to their previous homes. Their feelings are portrayed in the novel through an affective description of the spaces they share in the nursing home in which the novel is set and the spaces they occupied in the past. The contrast between indoors and outdoors is a vehicle for the expression of these feelings of displacement. Some key words which describe spaces, such as ‘home’, ‘house’ and ‘place’, are also used to express displacement. They identify different nuances of attachment to or repulsion from a certain space. Due to their primary role in portraying displacement, all of the above elements need to be mirrored in my Italian translation of the novel. This operation is not always easily carried through due to the anisomorphism between the English and the Italian language.' (Publication abstract)
Elizabeth Jolley : A Cross-Cultural Life in Writing Barbara Milech , Brian Dibble , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Studies , vol. 2 no. 2010;

'Elizabeth Jolley is one of Australia's most significant writers: she published some two dozen books of fiction, essays and radio dramas, won every major Australian literary award, received four honorary doctorates, was awarded the Order of Australia for service to Australian Literature in 1988, and was named an Australian 'National Living Treasure' in 1997.

Her career has its roots in the UK, the place of her birth, schooling and early marriage. In 1959 she travelled with her three children and her husband to Perth, Western Australia, where Leonard Jolley took up a position as foundation Librarian of the University of Western Australia. She brought with her a trunk full of unpublished/rejected manuscripts which provided the initial materials from which she developed her published fictions and essays in Australia.

This article explores the institutional frameworks in Australia which enabled Jolley - a constant writer from childhood - to develop, in David Carter's phrase, 'a career in writing' from the mid-1970s onwards. It argues that Jolley rewrote her foundation manuscripts (written in another country) both to imagine Australian lives and to conform to Australian publishers' requirements. In doing so, it traces how the fiction and essays translate the experience of migration/exile, often thematised through the recurrent image of being 'on the edge,' into the particular and powerful ethic of love that informs Jolley's writing.' (Author's abstract)

Reading Institutional Women : A Nexus Approach to Bourdieu, Summer Heights High, and the Fiction of Elizabeth Jolley Larissa McLean-Davies , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October/November vol. 24 no. 3-4 2009; (p. 66-78)
The essay uses Bourdieu's theories to show the ways in which some key female characters in institutions in Lilley's Summer Heights High and Jolley's fiction support the workings of institutional patriarchal power. In the final section, the author draws on the concept of 'heterotopia', in order to discuss the ways in which 'these texts contest masculine institutional paradigms, and explore the limits and possibilities of the alternative views offered by these fictions' (74).
Friendship in a Time of Loneliness Barbara Milech , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , vol. 24 no. 1 2009; (p. 97-110)
The essay 'explores the ways in which Jolley's fictions are simultaneously motivated by a longing for consummate love - (hetero)sexual, intellectual, spiritual, all at once - and shaped by a gathering understanding of the impossibility of that desire as a way of being in the world' (98-99).
Songs of a Wayfarer A. P. Riemer , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Heat , no. 14 (New Series) 2007; (p. 45-62)
[Review] Miss Peabody's Inheritance M. Glastonbury , 1985 single work review
— Appears in: New Statesman , 10 May 1985; (p. 25-26)

— Review of Miss Peabody's Inheritance Elizabeth Jolley , 1983 single work novel ; Mr Scobie's Riddle Elizabeth Jolley , 1983 single work novel
[Review] Miss Peabody's Inheritance [et al] J. Motion , 1985 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 18 October 1985; (p. 1173)

— Review of Miss Peabody's Inheritance Elizabeth Jolley , 1983 single work novel ; Milk and Honey : A Novel Elizabeth Jolley , 1984 single work novel ; Loving Daughters Olga Masters , 1984 single work novel ; Annie Magdalene Barbara Hanrahan , 1985 single work novel ; Bearded Ladies : Stories Kate Grenville , 1984 selected work short story poetry ; Palomino Elizabeth Jolley , 1980 single work novel ; Mr Scobie's Riddle Elizabeth Jolley , 1983 single work novel
[Review] Miss Peabody's Inheritance D. Jones , 1986 single work review
— Appears in: London Review of Books , vol. 7 no. 9 1986; (p. 22-23)

— Review of Miss Peabody's Inheritance Elizabeth Jolley , 1983 single work novel ; Mr Scobie's Riddle Elizabeth Jolley , 1983 single work novel
Untitled Brian Dibble , 1983 single work review
— Appears in: Westerly , March vol. 28 no. 1 1983; (p. 85-87)

— Review of Mr Scobie's Riddle Elizabeth Jolley , 1983 single work novel
Untitled Gabrielle Lord , 1983 single work review
— Appears in: National Times , 13-19 March 1983; (p. 32)

— Review of Mr Scobie's Riddle Elizabeth Jolley , 1983 single work novel
Survival, Reincarnation, "Palace of the Peacock" - Attitudes to Death and Life in Commonwealth Literature Britta Olinder , 1991 single work criticism
— Appears in: Breaking Circles 1991; (p. 202-217)
'As One Whom His Mother Comforteth, So Will I Comfort You : Elizabeth Jolley's Catalogue of Consolation Elaine Lindsay , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 66 no. 1 2006; (p. 52-65)
Elizabeth Jolley's Bourgeois Carnival: Novelistic and Social Dialogism in 'Foxybaby' and 'Mr Scobie's Riddle' Cecilia Pietropoli , 1994 single work criticism
— Appears in: Representation, Discourse and Desire : Contemporary Australian Culture and Critical Theory 1994; (p. 184-193)
Pietropoli investigates the position of canonical and non-canonical literature in Australia, developing on the idea of an Australian carnivalesque and how this might constitute part of a national 'voice'. - editor's note
Songs of a Wayfarer A. P. Riemer , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Heat , no. 14 (New Series) 2007; (p. 45-62)
Friendship in a Time of Loneliness Barbara Milech , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , vol. 24 no. 1 2009; (p. 97-110)
The essay 'explores the ways in which Jolley's fictions are simultaneously motivated by a longing for consummate love - (hetero)sexual, intellectual, spiritual, all at once - and shaped by a gathering understanding of the impossibility of that desire as a way of being in the world' (98-99).
Last amended 25 Nov 2019 14:10:08
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