Seeing a hard country : Lawrence’s Australian landscape

Carson, Susan J. (2012) Seeing a hard country : Lawrence’s Australian landscape. In Bell, Michael, Hyde, Virginia, & Paik, Nak-chung (Eds.) D.H. Lawrence Studies [Volume 20, Number 2]: A Special Issue: Proceedings of the 12th International D. H. Lawrence Conference, The D.H. Lawrence Society of Korea, Sydney, NSW, pp. 37-50.

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In 1944 Australian author Eleanor Dark wrote that Australia is a hard country for an outsider to see, citing, in evidence, the writing of the “strange, foreign-looking little man with the beard” -- the self-described by D. H. Lawrence. According to Dark, Lawrence was bewildered by Australia because what his eyes saw was not what they were accustomed to seeing. Kangaroo, she wrote, suggests one long, tormented effort to see. Lawrence appears, for Dark, to be half-blind, struggling, and irritated almost beyond belief with his visit to New South Wales. Eleanor Dark wrote this critique in 1944, long after Lawrence’s 1922 visit, but for her, as for other Australian writers, Kangaroo continued to register as an important book, even if the content rankled. Katharine Susannah Prichard and Christina Stead, both advocates in general of Lawrence, likewise rejected the tenor of Kangaroo, although Lawrence would not have been worried about the response. In 1929 he referred to his irritation with Australia in letters to P.R. “Inky” Stephensen, the Australian nationalist and publisher, and he does not seem to have changed his opinions since writing Kangaroo. Yet the novel continued to be significant for Australian writers, even if as a provocation. My discussion traces the responses of the women authors to Kangaroo, and refers to Lawrence’s letters to Stephensen, as a way of emphasizing this significance, seen especially in relation to ideas about ‘seeing’ and the Australian landscape.

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ID Code: 50236
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Conference theme: D. H. Lawrence: Colonial, Modernist and Postcolonial Perspectives
Keywords: Lawrence, Australia, Landscape, Vision
ISSN: 1226-4318
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LITERARY STUDIES (200500) > Australian Literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature) (200502)
Divisions: Past > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 by The D. H. Lawrence Society of Korea
Deposited On: 13 May 2012 23:18
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2013 05:54

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