Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 10, 2016

Expressions of Interest: Christina Stead Week (November?)

Christina SteadFollowing on from the recent success of #ReadingRhys week hosted by Jacqui at Jacqui Wine’s Journal and Eric at the Lonesome Reader, I am wondering if there would be interest in a Christina Stead week?  Text Publishing has just released four new titles in the Text Classics range, (The Puzzleheaded Girl; The Little Hotel; A Little Tea, a Little Chat and The Beauties and Furies, all available in eBook or print) and the major online stores all have editions of Stead’s most famous work The Man Who Loved Children and other titles as well.  I have seven of her novels on my TBR so I’m not short of choices!

Christina Stead (1902-1983) was a major Australian novelist who wrote twelve novels and several collections of short stories but she receives all too little recognition.  I think it would be nice to celebrate the Text reissues with a reading week, and I was thinking of the middle of November, after Cup Week and before Christmas gets in the way.  If you’d like to join in, please indicate your interest in the comments, thanks.

Titles to choose from are:

Novels (links are to Wikipedia)

Short stories

  • The Salzburg Tales (1934)
  • The Puzzleheaded Girl: Four Novellas (1965) (containing The Puzzleheaded Girl, The Dianas, The Rightangled Creek and Girl from the Beach)
  • A Christina Stead Reader (1978) edited by Jean B. Read
  • Ocean of Story: The Uncollected Stories of Christina Stead, edited by R. G. Geering (1985)

Responses

  1. I take it, from following the links, that your are planning an on-line read and write-a-thon. I’d be happy to participate – I have For Love Alone and maybe Seven Poor Men of Sydney to hand (I think!) AND Christina Stead: A Life of Letters.

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    • Splendid! Looks like we could have a great week all by ourselves!

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  2. No promises, although I am interested. I’ve already committed to GLM and then it’s a big deal with the 19th century group too.

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  3. What’s GLM?

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    • German Literature Month: I’ll be involved in it as well as Guy et al. so may not have much time for Stead but could always try some short stories.

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      • Yes and I also also committed to a read by John Dickson Carr…

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        • LOL sometimes we need to schedule our reading commitments on a calendar like we schedule work.
          *musing*
          I am toying with joining in the 1947 meme with Dr Faustus, so I could piggyback on GLM, but, *sigh* it’s a long book and …

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  4. As with Guy, no promises from me given the year I’m having but I have Ocean of story here and would read some of it if I possible could as I’ve been wanting to for a long time. I’ve also been wanting to read Seven poor men of Sydney for some time too, and have it here I believe. (Not to mention others.)

    However, how does it work? I haven’t seen those weeks you mention because I’m not interested in taking part, though I do visit those blogs occasionally. Do we just read what we want to read? Or do we agree on one and we all read it.

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    • I thought to model on #ReadingRhys which means you can read anything you like as long as it’s by Christina Stead. So just one short story from Ocean of Story would be fine if you are pressed for time, and I would link your review to the combined reviews page (like I do with Indigenous Lit Week).
      I don’t do readalongs. I think they’re terrific for providing support with difficult or very long books so that people don’t give up, but when I’ve tried them, every time I got out of synch with the schedule because I read too fast and I want to finish the book – and then I can’t comment because of spoilers and by the time I can comment I’ve moved on and forgotten what I was going to say anyway!
      But it would be nice to have a Christina Stead page with lots of reviews of different books, especially if Pandora archived it and then it’s a permanent (non-academic) resource for readers who want to know more about Stead.

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      • Sounds good then. Unless anything untoward happens I’d do at least that i.e. read a short story or two from Ocean.

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  5. I’d be keen to join in this, esp as Nov is my AusReading Month. I’m planning on reading Ruth Park’s Swords, Rings and Crowns but I suspect it will only take me a week or so to read, so I’ll be looking for something else for the second half of the month.

    Great idea!

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    • Yay, Brona! Do you have a book thrusting itself out of the TBR or are you like a kid in a lolly shop with everything to choose from?

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      • I work in an Indy bookshop, so all the recent text editions are at my finger tips :-)

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        • Ooh, lucky you! I worked at the New International Bookshop for a while as a volunteer. It was hard on the credit card but I was in heaven each time I went there…

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I have lots and lots of Stead on Mount TBR, so time permitting will be very pleased to join in! :)

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  7. That’s great, welcome aboard:)

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  8. I’ll try to read and review at least one short story, Lisa – I’m not sure what books I have – I last read her at uni but this will not only give me something to read for a purpose but also to write about it!

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    • Wonderful! I can lend you a short story collection if you like:)

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  9. That’s a lovely idea! Letty Fox: Her Luck is on my Classics Club list, and it would be a good opportunity to pick it up. Count me in! :)

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  10. A good reason to put her at the top of my TBR pile. I will give it a go.

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    • Hello Kathryn, welcome aboard:)

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  11. Stead has been on my to-read list for a while, and I saw those new Text editions, which look lovely. But November is a killer month for my semester, so with regret won’t be able to participate. But I’ll be curious to read what others have to say!

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    • Not to worry, good luck with your essays/exams etc, and maybe if it’s a success I’ll run it again next year:)

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  12. Stead is one of my very favourite writers, so I’d like to join in.

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    • Hi Dorothy, that’s great! Your reviews are something special:)

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  13. I’m trying to avoid saying ‘yes’ to too many reading commitments at the moment, so this one probably isn’t for me. Nevertheless, I’m delighted to see that our #ReadingRhys event has inspired you to think of doing something similar for Christina Stead – that’s great!. If you’d like to have a chat about what I learned from hosting the Rhys week/what I would do differently etc. just give me a shout. :)

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    • Perhaps a conversation best conducted offline by email, eh?

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      • Absolutely. I’ll DM you my email address once I’m back next week.

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  14. Great idea. I have a number of her books and intend adding to my collection.
    Would be most interested in participating in conversation.

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    • Wonderful! The hard part is going to be choosing which one, but that’s a nice problem to have:)

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  15. Hi Lisa
    Have you selected which Stead you might like to read in Nov?

    I’m putting together my sign up post for AusReadingMonth & would be happy to include a link.

    Part of me is keen to start at the beginning of Stead’s bibliography, but happy to try anything :-)

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    • Hi Brona, that’s very good of you:)
      I was going to have a crack at House of All Nations at 832 pages but I don’t think I’m going to be finished my current chunkster, Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus, so I’ll have to choose something shorter: probably Seven Poor Men of Sydney from 1934.

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  16. Is that a definite? I am reading I’m Dying Laughing. Whew. Have read S.P.M. and will start it again if that is the decision.

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    • *chuckle* Brona, I am forever making reading plans and abandoning them. But I will try to be definite this time!

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  17. I’m still at work, with zero draft posts, but I have Stead’s letters with me, so hopefully that will be next Friday’s post. I see I also have Cotter’s England at home so that could be a post for later in the month.

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    • Stead’s Letters? That sounds interesting…

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      • Sounds is the operative word. I made a start last night and turns out it’s her life, maybe based on her letters, by a journalist. Comes of buying books in job lots, there’s always dross amongst the gold.

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        • Who’s the journo?

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          • Chris Williams, I don’t have the book with me this minute but here is a short review from 1990
            http://asslh.org.au/hummer/no-27/christina-stead/

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            • Well, that tells me things about Stead that I didn’t know.

              *musing* I had previously wondered if one’s money was safe with a Marxist banker… at a lunch, recently, I frivolously asked a banking academic what a Marxist banker was (briefly explaining about the husband of Stead, who, of course, the banker had never heard of) and found to my (hopefully well-hidden)amusement that the question itself aroused polite disapproval. Whatever Marxist banking was, it is *not* on anyone’s agenda now, not even that of academics, who you’d think would be interested in it, if only to gloat over the demise of Soviet banks, which I assume were Marxist. (But…did the Soviets even have banks? What do anti-capitalists do with their money, hide it under the bed?)

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              • The Commonwealth was once a socialist bank. Government owned and based on the savings of , and lending to, ‘little’ people. As an anarchist I prefer mutual or co-op banks (and in answer to the obvious criticism, I need money to survive and anyway think it is a convenient store of value and that a lot of capitalism’s problems would be removed if they ceased speculating in money).

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                • That’s nice, I get Brownie Points for banking with a Mutual. I’ve been with the Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank (formerly credit union) since I started working and I don’t understand why anyone banks with a real bank. Everything (mortgage, car loan etc) is much cheaper with a co-op and the service is soooo much better!

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