From the perspective of 200 I, this book appears to have appeared on the scene at exactly the right time - it was Federation year, women all over Australia were about to get the vote, and many 'brilliant careers' were expected from young women of Stella Miles Franklin's generation. Yet the career of the Career has been a chequered one, in terms of both its publication history, and its critical reputation.
The novel was first published by Blackwood, of Edinburgh and London - not an Australian publisher, wrote A.G. Stephens, for 'the local audience whom it will interest is too scanty' (although see Webby in this issue). Franklin had sent the manuscript to Henry Lawson, who had immediately guessed that 'Miles Franklin' might be female. He wrote to David Scott Mitchell, 'I've got a bush novel, sent to me by a young girl, which I think beats Jane Eyre or the African Farm'. When Lawson arrived in London he passed on the manuscript to his literary agent J.B. Pinker, who sent the manuscript to Blackwoods. The book appeared some months later, without the '(?)' in the title, and also without a number of passages, probably on religion and the 'sex problem' (Webby, Introduction) .