‘The Craft So Long to Learn’: Ruth Park’s Story of Ruth Park
It is tempting, but upon reflection not quite accurate, to describe Ruth Park's autobiography as a Künstlerroman, that subtype of Bildungsroman which has been defined as a story representing 'the growth of a novelist ... into the stage of maturity that signalises the recognition of artistic destiny and mastery of artistic craft' (Abrams 120). For one thing, Park has not undergone maturation into a recognition of artistic destiny because she has always seen herself as a storyteller; and for another, her story does not have a narrow self-focus, but is an account of a generation and of the practice of a vocation within that generation. ... A generation comes alive in this narrative of a woman who reached maturity in times of war and depression, who has known success and failure, poverty and relative affluence, love and separation and the joys and sorrows of family life; yet the autobiography is primarily the story of a woman committed to her craft, the development of a born storyteller into an accomplished and versatile professional writer.
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