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Katharine Susannah Prichard (1883–1969)

Autor(a) de Coonardoo

25+ Works 559 Membros 17 Críticas 1 Favorited

About the Author


Obras por Katharine Susannah Prichard

Coonardoo (1929) 211 exemplares, 4 críticas
The Roaring Nineties (1946) 79 exemplares, 2 críticas
Golden Miles (1948) 59 exemplares, 2 críticas
Winged Seeds (1950) 45 exemplares, 1 crítica
Haxby's Circus (1979) 36 exemplares, 1 crítica
Brumby Innes, and Bid me to love (1974) 21 exemplares
Working Bullocks (1972) 20 exemplares, 1 crítica
The black opal (1973) 15 exemplares, 1 crítica
The Pioneers (2010) 13 exemplares, 3 críticas
Intimate Strangers (1976) 12 exemplares
Subtle Flame (1967) 6 exemplares
The wild oats of Han (1973) 5 exemplares

Associated Works

A World of Great Stories (1947) 263 exemplares, 4 críticas
Australian Short Stories (1951) — Contribuidor — 40 exemplares
One World of Literature (1992) — Contribuidor — 24 exemplares
The Anthology of Colonial Australian Gothic Fiction (2007) — Contribuidor — 23 exemplares
Australian Love Stories: An Anthology (1997) — Contribuidor — 17 exemplares
Classic Australian Short Stories (1974) — Contribuidor — 13 exemplares
A Century of Australian Short Stories (1971) — Contribuidor — 6 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Nome canónico
Prichard, Katharine Susannah
Outros nomes
Throssell, Mrs. Hugo
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
Levuka, Fiji
Local de falecimento
Greenmount, Western Australia, Australia
Locais de residência
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
London, England, UK
South Melbourne College
short-story writer
Throssell, Ric (son)
Throssell, Karen (granddaughter)
Communist Party of Australia (founding member)

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Katharine Susannah Prichard was born in Fiji and spent her childhood in Tasmania, before moving to Melbourne, Australia, where her father, a newspaper editor, was the editor of the Melbourne Sun. She won a scholarship to South Melbourne College and then worked as a governess and journalist. She went on assignment to Europe in 1908 and stayed in London and Paris for several years. Her first novel, The Pioneers, was the winner of a newspaper competition and was published in 1915. After her return to Australia, she published the romance Windlestraws and her first novel of a mining community, Black Opal. She married Captain Hugo "Jim" Throssell, a hero of World War I, with whom she had one son, and in 1920 moved with him to Western Australia, where she lived for the rest of her life. In her personal life, she always referred to herself as Mrs Hugo Throssell. In 1921, she became a founding member of the Communist Party of Australia and also founded several left-wing women's groups. In the 1920s, she wrote the two novels that would make her Australia's first internationally recognized writer: Working Bullocks (1926) and Coonardoo (1929). During the 1930s, she campaigned in support of the Republic in Spain and other anti-fascist causes. With the novel Intimate Strangers (1937) she began to promote the cause of peace and social justice. Her massive work, The Goldfields Trilogy -- comprising The Roaring Nineties (1946), Golden Miles (1948), and Winged Seeds (1950) -- explored social and personal histories in Western Australia's goldfields from the 1890s to 1946. She also wrote 10 plays, five collections of short stories, two films, and two volumes of poetry. Her autobiography was called The Child of the Hurricane (1964), after the events surrounding her birth.



The other reviews on here speak to the complexity of this work. Written by an avowed socialist, and one of the first Australian novels to treat our Indigenous people as human individuals, not to mention a stunningly sexual and honest work for its time, and a work that continues a strong trend of complex female characters in Aussie literature, Coonardoo is - to my mind - still an important part of Australia's literary history. To think only 30 years earlier the idea of "serious literature" in the country was a laugh, and the only true poignancy came from the (admittedly fantastic) stories of Steele Rudd and Henry Lawson.

At the same time, this book is incredibly challenging 90 years after its publication. In retrospect the approach to Aboriginal life is, as others have said, "animalistic". Pritchard was looking through colonial eyes, perhaps inevitably. The gender politics are also uncomfortable now, and the power dynamics unsettling. Anyway, that's all been said elsewhere in some lovely reviews by Goodreads folk. Coonardoo was a trailblazer for its time, and that's probably what remains important about it.
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therebelprince | 3 outras críticas | Apr 21, 2024 |
I like to start my reading year with a book I really liked, so I choose carefully from the TBR, selecting a tried and true author guaranteed not to let me down. This year I chose Katharine Susannah Prichard's fourth novel Working Bullocks, from 1926. It was unputdownable...

My 1991 Imprint Classics edition includes an introduction by Ivor Indyk (now of Giramondo Publishing, founded in 1995), but its cover image from a panel of 'Riverbend' painted by Sidney Nolan, alludes only to the majesty of the forests. It doesn't even hint at the power of Prichard's story. Working Bullocks does feature superb evocations of the natural environment which would win any nature-writing prize today, but KSP wrote social realism with political intent, and this novel exposes the hardships of the working poor who laboured far from cities and towns, in the timber industry.

Chapter 21 'The Karri Forest' in Nathan Hobby's award-winning biography, The Red Witch (2022) tells me that the catalyst for this novel was KSP's motorbike trip to Pemberton with her husband Hugo in 1919.
They stayed for a fortnight in the boarding house, living 'among the karri forests...going out every day to watch the timber men at work, and absorbing the spirit of the place'; Katharine said she even drove a bullock team. She recorded snatches of conversation between timber workers, word sketches of characters she met or heard about, details of logging, handling bullocks, and the sawmill operations, stories about capturing brumbies, descriptions of the plants and animals in the area, as well as the experience of being among the trees; she was interested 'above all in the generative power and wild beauty of the land itself.' (The Red Witch, p182, details below.)

Perhaps by the 1990s marketing departments sought to capitalise on the prevailing interest in environmental issues with a cover depicting trees, but these earlier covers are more true to KSP's social concerns. They show the teamsters at work...

Set in the early 1920s in the Karri forests southwest of Perth, Working Bullocks is a story of powerful men crushed by a system of body-breaking work, poverty and little prospect of advancement. When we read this story, almost a century later, it is to recognise how brutal working conditions were for the timber workers of that era. Single men in the forests mostly camped out in the bush. They lived on meagre campfire meals with the basics brought from town. They supplemented this diet with what they could catch, rabbits and 'tammas' (Tammar Wallabies). When they could, they came into town for a bath and a decent meal at a boarding house and what passed for a social life at the pub.

Married men lived in crude company housing, so pitiless that KSP's story tells of women and children who died while requests for decent housing were 'being considered'.
A fettler's wife died, after having given birth to a baby in one of the wretched huts of bagging and defective timber, far out near the end of the bush line. Everything in the hut was wet, Jim Anderson, her husband said; neither the roof nor the walls kept out the rain, and everybody who had seen those poor lean-to's of bagging and rough timber which were the fettlers' homes could believe it. When the woman was raving, her husband had brought her into the township. There was neither nurse nor doctor in Karri Creek then; he had tried to take her into Jarranup on the rake, but she had died on the way. (P.222)

(A rake is a form of rail transport: rolling stock coupled together.)

The size of the families reminds us that this was an era without effective birth control. The indefatigable Mary Ann Colburn has 18 children, and a useless husband. She makes ends meet by decades of incessant work, not just the labour of cooking and cleaning for her own brood, but by doing washing, ironing and mending in town. When the story opens, her daughter Deb — barely into her teens — is about to start work in Mrs Pennyfather's boarding house, and like her brother Chris working with Red Burke's bullock team, she will give her wages to her mother. Mrs Pennyfather provides board and lodging and three meals a day for up to 40 men, and it will be Deb's job to make the beds and do the laundry and lay the tables and do the kitchen prep. These scenes are vivid, almost certainly drawn from KSP's observations of women labouring seven days a week in this way.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2024/01/01/working-bullocks-by-katharine-susannah-prich...
… (mais)
anzlitlovers | Dec 31, 2023 |
Coonardoo, set on a remote cattle station in north-western Australia, tackles the already sensitive topic of a relationship between a white Australian man and an aboriginal woman. But what really shocked contemporary readers was that Prichard presents the relationship between Hugh and Coonardoo, who have known each other all their lives and are deeply rooted in the land at Wytaliba, as the loving, meaningful and — mostly — platonic one that drives the whole plot, whilst Hugh’s marriage to the white woman he imports from the coast is every bit as functional and exploitative as the harem of black women and mixed-race children their reprobate neighbour Sam maintains on his property.

Prichard’s well-meaning attempts to show us how the world looks from Coonardoo’s perspective probably wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny in 21st-century terms, but they were quite serious and carefully researched, and clearly well ahead of their time 93 years ago. It’s also interesting how she uses a geographical point-of-view to structure the narrative: we never get more than a few miles from Wytaliba, and follow the characters, white or aboriginal, who happen to be there at the time. Other than that, it’s a fairly conventional realistic novel, full of horses and cattle and Australian weather and all the household business of running a remote farm.
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thorold | 3 outras críticas | May 12, 2022 |
I've departed from my usual practice in reviewing Katharine Susannah Prichard's Coonardoo from 1929: I've read other opinions about it, both before and after reading it.  I also re-read Mairi Neil's post about the play Brumby Innes and its place in the history of Australian drama because Prichard first used the theme of the novel in the play.

I did this additional reading because this work has a contentious place in the history of Australian literature.  Coonardoo is the first detailed representation of Indigeneity in Australian fiction, but the author was not Indigenous herself.  So I've included both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives in my pre- and post-reading of the work.

While the representation of Indigeneity has changed with the passage of time, and the issue of appropriation is ongoing, this book, written almost a century ago, is the subject of attention and scholarship because it's written by one of our finest writers. Katharine Susannah Prichard makes an appearance in almost all the reference books I have: Australian Classics, by Jane Gleeson-White; the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (Ed. Nicholas José);  the Oxford Companion to Australian Literature (Ed. Wilde, Hooten & Andrews), and also in Jean-Francois Vernay’s A Brief Take on the Australian Novel.  Harry Heseltine writes about KSP extensively in The Literature of Australia (Ed. Geoffrey Dutton).

All of these non-Indigenous authorities refer to Coonardoo, but only some of them address issues of racism.  The Oxford Companion says only that the more polished Coonardoo was joint winner of the 1928 Bulletin novel prize and was praised as the first realistic and detailed portrayal of an Aboriginal.  

The Macquarie Anthology, for example, refers to hostile criticism for its portrait of a loving sexual relationship between a young Aboriginal woman and a white man. Heseltine, however, while stating that the creative treatment is neither sociological, nor patronising, but (at least by intention) tragic, goes on to acknowledge, albeit indirectly, prior occupation of the land on which the story takes place.  Refuting the doctrine of terra nullius, he writes:
It is a matter of some interest that what is probably Prichard's most complex attempt at characterisation and her most intensely sustained emotional encounter with her material should be inspired by a member of a race whose dreaming, whose search for identity, was accomplished long before white men came to the Australian continent. ( 'Australian Fiction Since 1920' by Harry Heseltine, in The Literature of Australia (Ed. Geoffrey Dutton, 1964, ISBN 0140700080, my copy is the 1976 revised edition).

However Larissa Behrendt of the Eualeyai/Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay people analyses Coonardoo more harshly in Finding Eliza, Power and Colonial Storytelling.  At the conclusion of a lengthy chapter, she writes:
Though some may read Coonardoo as a reminder of the loves lost because of racism, the novel is also a reminder of the unacknowledged legacy of colonisation on Aboriginal women: their inability to freely consent to sexual relations with the white men who had the power of life and death over them was fundamentally constrained.  It is also a reminder that, regardless of any good intention, constructed stereotypes of Aboriginal men and women continue to appear and be perpetuated in even so-called 'sympathetic' twenty-first century literature. (Finding Eliza, Power and Colonial Storytelling, UQP, 2016, ISBN 9780702253904, p.99)

Finally, thanks to Nathan Hobby, whose biography of KSP is published in 2022, I also read Wiradjuri woman Jeanine Leane's 2016 deeply personal response to the novel at Overland. 

So, what do I think about Coonardoo?

The first thing to say is that KSP is a great writer who was nominated for the Nobel Prize because she wrote about important things. Although some of her work is weighed down by her desire to bring issues to the reader's attention, in the fiction which I've read so far, she tackled the big picture issues of her time: poverty, disadvantage, inadequate health care, disability, and working conditions.  (The Oxford Companion tells me that she also wrote about her desire for world peace and nuclear disarmament, and almost all of the commentators mention her commitment to communism.)  The big issue that she tackled in Coonardoo is IMO best expressed by Jane Gleeson-White in Australian Classics:
Katharine Susannah Prichard's novel Coonardoo is the story of an Aboriginal woman, the eponymous Coonardoo, and the struggle of white and Aboriginal Australians to live together and work the vast land of the Kimberley, where their worlds come into intimate contact. (Australian Classics, Allen & Unwin, 2007, ISBN 9781741753417, p106.)

That intimate contact is a story of love thwarted by denial, prejudice and racism.  Coonardoo is an unpaid station hand in the Kimberley, alongside Hugh Watt, the son of the station owner.  Narrated from Coonardoo's perspective, Hugh's and that of his mother, the formidable widow Bessie Watt — the story shows how their love emerged, was frustrated and denied, was consummated, and then denied again.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2021/01/17/coonardoo-by-katharine-susannah-prichard/
… (mais)
anzlitlovers | 3 outras críticas | Apr 28, 2022 |



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