ELIZABETH JOLLEY: NEW CRITICAL ESSAYS book cover   Elizabeth Jolley: New Critical Essays
Edited by Delys Bird and Brenda Walker
Cover photo Elizabeth Jolley by William Yang

Dustjacket synopsis:
"Elizabeth Jolley is internationally recognised as the most comical and disturbing writer working in Australia today. Her work has shifted perceptions of the possibilities of life in Australia and ways of narrating Australia. This collection of original essays is the first book-length critical publication on her work. The essays, from Australia, Canada, Britain, Spain and Italy explore the mystery, sexuality, domestic tensions and dark European influences in Joley's narratives. They illuminate Elizabeth Jolley's writing in always interesting and often surprising ways."


Writing Into the Land: The Textual Mediation of Relationships to the Land in Elizabeth Jolley's FictionChris Prentice
Selves and Others in Elizabeth Jolley's NarrativeMaria Suarez-Lafuente
Surprise in the Novels of Elizabeth JolleyMartin Gray
From Irony to Affirmation: Religious Language in the Fiction of Elizabeth JolleyNorman R. Cary
'Speaking From Where She Is Not' ... The Well and My Father's MoonVeronica Brady
The Joseph Complex or the Father/Daughter Bond in the Fiction of Elizabeth JolleyJoan Kirkby
Reading Elizabeth JolleyBrenda Walker
A Monstrous Sweetness: the Narratives of Milk and HoneyLucy Frost
Breaking the Realist Mirror: With a (Female) DifferenceSue Gillett
Dr Thorne and Mrs Peabody: Miss Peabody's InheritanceMaureen Bettle
Myths of Domesticitv in the Novels of Elizabeth JolleyJohn O'Brien
A Passage to Australia: Images and Metaphors of a Culture ClashCecilia Pietropoli
Miracle Play: the Imagination in Elizabeth Jolley's NovelsPaul and Keryl Kavanagh
Now for the Real Thing: Elizabeth Jolley's ManuscriptsDelys Bird
Mr Scobie's Riddle and the Contemporary VollendungsromanConstance Rooke
'This Possible Closeness': Music in the Fiction of Elizabeth JolleyTom Tausky
'Du holde Kunst': Music and Musical Form in Elizabeth Jolley's FictionA.P. Reimer
'A Timid Confidence': Elizabeth Jolley - Bibliography in ProgressBrian Dibble and Barbara Milech

First Paragraph from the Preface

In Elizabeth Jolley's most recent novel, Cabin Fever, the narrator identifies herself as an 'owner of grief', impoverished, without glamour. Her grief is her property. Sadness and the lirpitations of consolation are, increasingly, the narrative property of Elizabeth Jolley's fiction, but this unusual engagement with grief does not, in itself, account for the significance of the writing. The international appreciation of her work, in original and translated form, is evidence of this significance. Reasons for her popularity among general readers suggest themselves: her humour is never dismissive; her bleakness is never cynical; she insists on the value of human warmth and kindness at the same time as she exposes instances of self-serving and predatory affection; she emphasises the ordinary power of imaginative creativity. Traditional critics appreciate Jolley's informed and often ironic use of high culture and her system of values which accommodates conventional notions of truth and wisdom. In Miss Peabody's Inheritance, the novelist Diana Hopewell writes with assurance: 'There is too a thin line between truth and fiction and there are moments in the writing of fantasy and imagination where truth is suddenly revealed.' 'Post-structuralist readers, uncomfortable with unqualified notions of 'truth', are sympathetic to the overt fictionality of many of Jolley's texts, which can be seen to exemplify the way in which subjectivity, and indeed power and social change, consist of a constantly shifting process of linguistic negotiation.

From the Imprint paperback edition, 1991.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2001-02 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: January 12, 2002.