Review of Exiles at Home: Australian Women Writers 1925-1945 by Drusilla Modjeska
This challenging addition to the field of literary history is the work of a historian more preoccupied with feminist and political issues than with literary criticism. This is appropriate since Drusilla Modjeska's focus is the 1930s, a decade when women were not only leading creative writers but also among those most committed to social protest. With the great depression and the increasing threat of Nazism there was plenty to protest about. As another historian, Walter Laquer, has commented: 'The nineteen-thirties were the classic age of political involvement, of writers' congresses, manifestos, and politico-literary tracts.' In Australia writers like Katharine Susannah Prichard, Jean Devanny, Dymphna Cusack, Eleanor Dark, Marjorie Barnard, Flora Eldershaw and Kylie Tennant were all actively involved in the struggle against political and sexual oppression. Christina Stead was in Europe and Miles Franklin just returned from there but they too were disturbed by these issues.
Please sign in to access this article and the rest of our archive.