‘Unrelaxing Fortitude’: Susannah Franklin
When Miles Franklin's My Brilliant Career was published in 1901, members of the public, as well as the extended Franklin family, assumed the work to be autobiographical. Many readers wrote to the young author, directing their letters to 'Sybylla Melvyn, Possum Gully'. This tendency to take Sybylla's world as reality is also apparent in historical accounts of Miles Franklin's life, and in commentary on the role of Susannah Franklin as the young writer's mother. Never the central issue of discussion, Susannah Franklin is often assumed to resemble the bitter, unsympathetic woman of My Brilliant Career, the would-be respectable, severe wife of a struggling farmer, who remains unimpressed by her daughter's literary endeavours. The possibility that Susannah Franklin, in contrast to Mrs Melvyn, supported and encouraged her daughter deserves consideration.
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