Tuesday, November 10, 2009

miscellaneous 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 the same links to the bottom of this post too, so scroll down if you prefer.


Commentary on Miscellaneous Books published by Christina Stead:
not The Man Who Loved Children, not Letty Fox,
in the order they were published
with perhaps some mistakes.


Time reviews Seven Poor Men of Sydney, quite briefly.

Only ordinary character in the book is Joseph, whose very ordinariness lights up the grotesque genius of his companions

Time reviews The Beauties and Furies

Against the realistic but poetically envisaged background of yesterday's Paris, in a political climate heavy with the Stavisky scandals and the riots of Feb. 6, 1934, swarms a crowd of fantastic figures in a kind of Lutetian Lupercalia.

The Neglected Books Page website looks at House of All Nations.

In House of All Nations, it is this very lack of judgment that in collusion with her giddy, caustic humor, allows Stead to probe so deeply.

Time reviews House of All Nations in 1938.

Unlike most novelists of financial high life, Author Stead gives the complex details of shady transactions, banking manipulations, stock transfers, wheat deals, makes brilliant sense of gigantic currency speculations, of how the Bertillons make millions in bear operations on Kreuger stocks.

Time reviews House of All Nations again in 1978 and likes it less.

This is a long, unfathomably static but often exhilarating novel about money. There are 104 chapters, at least as many characters, and dialogue that runs on and on like ticker tape.

In the Australian, Michael Ackland writes about House in an article called, "On Christina Stead and our financial crisis."

Is it still true, as Stead wrote, that "I know, as well as you do, that no banker can afford to have his books looked into"? Certainly leading banks still enjoy considerable leeway in their reporting, and seem to acknowledge risks and losses as they see fit.

The Verity's Virago Venture blog reviews For Love Alone.

... my first Christina Stead was For love alone, an absolutely fantasticly chunky book with an extremely engrossing plot.

Time reviews it too.

Teresa got herself a job and waited. Only after eight more months did she finally come to realize what readers will have decided already. "How stupid he is," she said to herself.

An essay by Jane Marie Frugtneit: "For Love Alone? Anorexia and Teresa's Quest for Love" Click on the .pdf link to download the essay.

I believe that the diagnostic criteria for psychoanalytic disorders such as anorexia offer a unique psycho-theoretical tool to analyse Teresa’s position in For Love Alone (even allowing that diagnostic manuals themselves are texts open to various interpretations).

The imdb page for the film version of For Love Alone.

One sequence supposedly aboard an ocean liner was actually filmed in the foyer of the glorious Wintergarden theater in Rose Bay Sydney, a sensational 1928 movie palace designed by master architect Henry White. Astonishingly and infuriatingly the Wintergarden was demolished in 1987, an urban scandal that still grits teeth today.

A Hugo Weaving website comments on the film. Weaving played Johnathan Crow.

It's not as soppy as it sounds

For Love Alone was turned into a stage play too. The script, by Gillian Berry, was published in 2001. Ten pages of that script are available online in .pdf.


Time reviews A Little Tea, a Little Chat.

The main trouble is that Miss Stead has chosen to write about the most loathsome and amoral characters that can be dredged up from the cocktail bars and brokerage houses of New York.

Time reviews The People With the Dogs.

The best of them, 33-year-old Edward, a kindly fellow of no particular occupation, startles the family by marrying an actress. This kind of thing is just what the Massines need, Novelist Stead implies.

A first-edition copy of The People With the Dogs looked like this.

omoo says:

Library Fashionista: c1951, first edition, Little , Brown and Co.,1952. Jacket design by George Salter. Thank you!

Time reviews Dark Places of the Heart, the new title given to Cotter's England by its U.S. publishers.

Perhaps Christina Stead's latest book should not be reviewed, but exorcised.

The Happy Antipodean blog thinks about Cotter's England.

Creating moments like these requires pages and pages of preparation. Stead, by this time an experienced novelist, knew exactly the effects she wanted and she does it beautifully.

Time reviews The Little Hotel.

It is this pattern of self-inflicted frustration that gives The Little Hotel its coherence and links to earlier Stead novels like The House of All Nations (1938) ... and The Man Who Loved Children (1940), a chronicle of domestic agony that Clifton Fadiman once described as "Little Women rewritten by a demon."

Lisa Hill at the ANZ LitLover's blog reviews The Little Hotel.

Women are cast in a very unflattering light: dependant, inane, trivial and bitchy. Mrs Bonnard wants a friend, but there are none to be had.

The North American Review reviews Miss Herbert (the Suburban Wife).

Like the title of the novel, Eleanor's life is divided. She thinks of herself always enclosed in parentheses.

A Time review of Miss Herbert (the Suburban Wife) that turns into a short overview of the author's career.

Sympathy is not a necessary virtue in an excellent writer. In Miss Herbert, however, Stead reveals a touch of the sadist.

Anne Pender's essay on I'm Dying Laughing: " 'Scorched earth', Washington and the missing manuscript of Christina Stead's I'm Dying Laughing".

Recently, a friend of Stead's showed me an extensive collection of manuscript pages of I'm Dying Laughing. This manuscript material was kept separate from the manuscript in Geering's possession and therefore was not available to him when he was working on the text. The discovery of this new collection represents a very significant development in the history of I'm Dying Laughing, Stead's most radical novel.

The L.A. Times reviews I'm Dying Laughing.

This is wonderful material, wonderfully suited to Stead's great gifts, and much of the scene, extremely difficult to translate into fiction, is wonderfully done.

In its large outline the book falters, however, and since Stead has never failed before, it is reasonable to look for explanations in the book's curious history.

Another review of I'm Dying Laughing. At the Women's Review of Books.

Stead shows Emily and Stephen's tragedy as that of a generation, not of an ideology; this novel condemns corrupt Marxists, not Marxism

Kate Webb's three substantial essays built around I'm Dying Laughing: "The American Dilemma: The Comedy of Life and Death in I’m Dying Laughing", "The Hollywood Background", and "Christina Stead and the Problems of Placing an Author".

The problem, Stead thought, was that the talent Americans had, the passion and drive which had brought them so far, was of little use in the face of the Crash, the Depression and the Cold War


General Commentary on Christina Stead.

Commentary on The Man Who Loved Children.

Commentary on Letty Fox: Her Luck.


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