Read The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson Free Online
Book Title: The Getting of Wisdom|
The author of the book: Henry Handel Richardson
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1398 times
Reader ratings: 3.5
Edition: Text Classics
Date of issue: April 2nd 2013
ISBN 13: 9781922079404
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 29.61 MB
Read full description of the books:
As I was reading the enchanting misadventures of the loveable (and irritating) scapegrace Laura I kept being struck with the impossibility of a male author having not only chosen this topic, but written such a sensitive account of a girl's attempts to relate to other girls in a female dominated setting (Bechdel test registers off the charts) so I googled "him". Yes...well...
The writing is great, there is an edge to it so that no matter how Laura goes from failure to failure- overimaginative, impulsive and foolish and alienates her peers and teachers alike there is just enough joy in the text to let the reader chuckle not cry.
I have to say I relate to Laura. The idea of being thrust into an all girl's school from a home-life where we didn't mix with people, consequently WITHOUT the necessary social capital and maybe with more brains than is strictly helpful...yes that is a pretty faithful account of how it is (though I was never as confident or as irrepressible as Laura, I was even worse). And an all girl's school is such an unforgiving environment.
The book looks at gender (and the constraints of middle-class femininity). It touches on class in the complex and contradictory "classless" Australian society soon after the turn of the century. It has little asides that are frankly racist (which even allowing for the time I just couldn't enjoy) but the main thrust of the story was critical (and sarcastic) enough to be fun.
This story is about "fitting in" (and not) about the unrealistic hopes and limited social mobility (with a hinted at happy ending). It's about a one size fits all femininity that doesn't fit anyone perfectly and some not at all. For such a short book it is quite complex. And it's an Australian classic. Read it!
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Read information about the authorEthel Florence Lindesay Richardson's use of a pen-name, adopted for mixed motives, probably militated against recognition especially when feminist literary history began. Maurice Guest was highly praised in Germany when it first appeared in translation in 1912, but received a bad press in England, though it influenced other novelists. The publishers bowdlerized the language for the second imprint. The trilogy suffered from the long intervals between its three volumes: Australia Felix (1917); The Way Home (1925) and Ultima Thule (1929). The last brought overnight fame and the three volumes were published as one in 1930. Her fame in England was short-lived; as late as 1977, when Virago Press republished The Getting of Wisdom, some London critics referred to the author as 'Mr Richardson'. Her short stories, The End of a Childhood (1934), and the novel, The Young Cosima (1939), had lukewarm receptions.
Henry Handel Richardson's place in Australian literature is important and secure. The Fortunes is an archetypal novel of the country, written about the great upsurge of nineteenth-century Western capitalism fuelled by the gold discoveries. With relentless objectivity it surveys all the main issues which were to define the direction of white Australian society from the 1850s onwards, within the domestic framework of a marriage. Powerfully symbolic in a realistic mode it is, as an English critic said in 1973, 'one of the great inexorable books of the world'.
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