The Diaries of Miles Franklin

Front Cover
Allen & Unwin, 2004 - Authors, Australian - 304 pages
In the 50th anniversary year of Miles Franklin's death, this book containing many of her diary entries and richly illustrated with photos and drawings, will capture the hearts and minds of readers.
 

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Page 64 - Dame Commander of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire.
Page 9 - It is a vivid and sincere book, certainly the true reflection of a passionate young nature, impatient of the inevitable limitations of the life around her.
Page 98 - Up the Country, 1928; Ten Creeks Run, 1930; and Back to Bool Bool, 1931.
Page 8 - Altogether—with the exception, perhaps, of some too emotional passages in middle of novel—and as a vivid yet humorous description of selection and farming life in Australia, I think the work goes deeper, is more vividly realistic and more perfect than my own.
Page 9 - but something more than emotion is needed to make fine literature; and here we miss any genuine instinct of art or any mature power of thought, and are left at the end only with a painful sense of crudity. Miles Franklin is ardently devoted to Australia, but to a remote ideal Australia, and in the eagerness of her own embittered and egoistic mood she tramples under foot the things that really make Australia.
Page 6 - The trees were not so majestic. The ranges were low and ragged without gorges and mighty rocks like castles and cascading streams draped with tree-ferns and maidenhair and flowering shrubberies along their banks. No lyrebirds gambolled across the track to flute in eucalyptus aisles across a big singing creek. Oh, Ajinby
Page 15 - the futility of my existence, my weakness in effort, my failure in accomplishment fill me with a creeping melancholy that grows more impenetrable. I will fight against it, once more by hard work, and if in two years the results are no better than in the past I shall die
Page 6 - with its river, its creeks, large and small, full of fish, its wealth of orchards and ornamental trees, its flower gardens with pomegranates and magnolias! Here there were no rocks or ferns at all. There were no permanently running creeks, only weedy waterholes. Mother named the place
Page 30 - Australian life is too lacking in tradition, and too confused, to make many first-class novels.

About the author (2004)

Miles Franklin was born and reared on farms in remote parts of New South Wales. These early experiences of a family struggling against an inhospitable land served as the basis for her first and best-known novel, My Brilliant Career (1901). The story of Sybylla Melvyn and her fantastic adventures in colonial Australia was made into a successful film, which brought about a revival of interest in Franklin and her long-forgotten novel; the interest, however, has been directed more toward her feminism than her literary work. Immediately after My Brilliant Career, Franklin wrote My Career Goes Bung (1946), which follows Sybylla's experiences as a successful author. Both of these novels foretell Franklin's lifelong revolt against the roles open to women. Through her literary and feminist contacts after the success of My Brilliant Career, Franklin found work as a freelance writer in Sydney before going to the United States in 1905, where she remained for nine years. In Chicago, she engaged in social work and suffragist activity for the National Women's Trade Union League. In 1927, she returned permanently to Australia, where she continued to write. Under the pseudonym "Brent of Bin Bin," she published six novels depicting Australian bush life, but they were never particularly successful. It has been pointed out that by the 1930s Australian fiction was changing, taking up new topics and moving away from realistic accounts of colonial life. Franklin's tireless promotion of Australian writing through her criticism and active involvement in literary circles, along with her feminist activities, make her an important figure in Australian literature, even though much of her work is of more historical significance than literary. Following her death in 1954, the Miles Franklin Award for Fiction was instituted to be given to a novelist whose work authentically represents Australian life.

Paul Brunton is Senior Curator, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. His published works include

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