Review of Clara Morison by Catherine Helen Spence, edited by Susan Eade; and Catherine Spence by Janet Cooper
The recent publication of the above books, together with the section devoted to Catherine Spence in John Barnes's Henry Kingsley and Colonial Fiction (Melbourne 1971, Australian Writers and their Work series), signifies a revival of interest in her life and work which demands evaluation. Is the interest merely antiquarian? Or is it, as Janet Cooper's study in the 'Great Australians' series might suggest, a passing nod at Women's Liberation? (Of the sixty-seven august titles in this series, Catherine Spence's is the fifth woman's name.) Does Catherine Spence's achievement deserve this modest but steadily growing reputation? In particular, how does her literary work respond to this latter-day resuscitation?
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