Tuesday, November 10, 2009

general commentary on christina stead

Note. This post is a part of a series of Christina Stead link-posts. You can find the primary post here. It will connect you to the rest. I've added them to the bottom of this post too, so scroll down if you prefer.


General Commentary on Christina Stead


A biography, and an overview of her work, at kirjastro.sci.fi.

Another overview at the Orlando Project site.

The Christina Stead page at Middlemiss.

An overview of her life and work at Dennis Cooper's blog, DC's.

Her Wikipedia page.

The official webpage of the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

Nine essays from the 2003 Christina Stead centenary issue of the Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.

A Sydney Morning Herald article about "A chance discovery of a box of [Stead's] letters in a Canberra basement."

A guide to the papers of Christina Stead, held at the National Library of Australia.

Graeme Powell, the Manuscript Librarian at the National Library of Australia writes about Stead's papers. [in .pdf format.]

A caricature of her, drawn by David Levine for the New York Review of Books.

A short page about Lyndham Hall, where she lived as a child. The house is now a tourist attraction, more out of respect for the age of the building than for the connection to the author. In her autobiographical piece A Waker and a Dreamer, she describes it as "a cottage built of large sandstone blocks cut in the quarry at the foot of the hill, by convicts in the old days.

The house stood on top of the rise, facing the Pacific Ocean directly through the headlands of Botany Bay; Cape Banks and Cape Solander. The monument to Captain Cook at his landing place at Kurnell was visible from the attic windows. [My father] was very pleased by this; he never failed a Kurnell anniversary."

"Where else have I seen her use the name Solander?" I wondered as I was typing this out. "Oh. Letty Fox's father."

A biography of her father, the naturalist David Stead, and his Wikipedia page.

A 1982 interview with David Stead's third wife, Thistle Harris. "[Christina] has a very strong personality," she says, "and she's very egocentric."

A photograph of Stead's lover and husband, William J. Blake, along with a very short biography. All of the biographies of Blake online, as far as I can discover, are short. On my screen his Wikipedia entry is only two lines and one word long.

An article about the life of Keith Duncan, the model for Jonathan Crow in For Love Alone. [in .pdf]

Hazel Rowley, who wrote a well-regarded biography of Stead, is interviewed on New York Public Radio. Her book is reviewed in the L.A. Times and the New York Times. On her website, she publishes an article, arguing that "Australians [are not] proud of their writers and [do not] read their books," using Stead as an example of a neglected Australian writer.

Yet Stead is not totally neglected for she has a nice round metal plaque on the Writers Walk in Sydney.

"Paris and beyond: the transnational/national in the writing of Christina Stead and Eleanor Dark", by Susan Carson, an essay from a longer book called Transnational Ties: Australian lives in the world.

"The night of which no one speaks: Christina Stead's art as struggle", an essay by Susan Lever.

"A Reconsideration of Christina Stead at Work: Fact into Fiction", an essay by Ann Blake.

"Realigning Christina Stead", an essay by Michael Ackland. ("Michael Ackland argues for a ‘Red Stead’," explains the byline.)

"Writers Behaving Badly: Stead, Bordieu and Australian Literary Culture", an essay by Brigid Rooney.

"Feminism and male chauvinism in the writings of Christina Stead", by Heather Stewart, an essay which includes this interesting observation, attributed to Ken Stewart (who may or may not be related to the essayist, I don't know): "Christina Stead originated the well-known phrase--'male chauvinist'. It is regarded as the first use of this term in English literature. She used it to describe the male lead in her New York novel The People with the Dogs. Her book wasn't published until 1952, but she began writing it in July 1944--a long time before the now common term 'male chauvinist' was taken up in feminist writings."

The passage in the book is this:

Burrows laughed slightly, "Why should a girl with her name in lights cook eggs for an eye-doctor? He's maritally illiterate. He's a male chauvinist."

Ken Stewart wrote an article on the subject, "Male Chauvinism: the Origin of a Phrase", for the Age Monthly Review in December 1986.

A review, by Diana Brydon, of two books, Christina Stead: Satirist, by Anne Pender, and The Enigmatic Christina Stead: A Provocative Re-Reading, by Teresa Petersen. Brydon is the author of a book called Christina Stead, which is part of the Women Writers series published by Macmillan. You can find most of Christina Stead at Google Books.

Jennifer Gribble reviewed Satirist as well, and you can read her review in .pdf format or in html.

Meanwhile, Pender reviewed Peterson. Before her own Satirist was released she wrote an article called "In Search of Christina Stead." [in. pdf]

A review, by Kate Webb, of The Magic Phrase – Critical Essays on Christina Stead, released by Queensland Press, and a sample of the book itself, at Google Books.

Another review of The Magic Phrase, this one by Laurie Hergenhan.

An article about Professor Margaret Harris, who was the editor of The Magic Phrase, and who also edited a collection of letters written by Stead and Blake, Dearest Munx. She discusses the letters [in .pdf].

Bianca Ferguson reviews Dearest Munx.

Stead's short story, The Triskelion, excerpted from The Salzburg Tales, at Google Books.


Commentary on The Man Who Loved Children.

Commentary on Letty Fox: Her Luck.

Commentary on miscellaneous other books published by Stead.


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