For Love Alone
"Against a background of two cities - Sydney, thich with genteel sweat; and London, grim, dark and depressed - For Love Alone tells the story of Teresa Hawkins, high minded, passionate and independent, who knows only one commandment: Thou Shalt Love.
"Obsessed by love and a sense of her own destiny, Teresa turns her back on Sydney and its suburban horizons, and sets off on her 'grand perilous journey'. Following the self-seeking and contemptuous Jonathon Crow, whom Stead gives us here in an unforgettable portrait of misogyny, Teresa arrives in London to a world in which she does not seem fated to belong. There she meets James Quick and doscovers another fomr of love, and her own power as a woman.
"This new edition of For Love Alone is published with an introduction by Peter Craven."
First Paragraph from the Introduction:
When For Love Alone was published in 1945 its emphasis on self-fulfilment at all costs and its
portrayal of young girl standing on her own might have seemed more peculiar than it does today. Certainly
Christina Stead's own comments suggest that she was misunderstood.
In October 1946 she told an interviewer from the Sydney Daily Telegraph:
In that novel I tried to present a girl of no social background who just believed in love, but whom society forced into the same sordid mess that entrapped Letty Fox. American critics couldn't understand this girl.
In fact Teresa's predicament is universal enough. For Love Alone is the story of a young girl who believes passionately in love and who escapes from her native Sydney because she wants to be someone, to avoid the role that would be forced upon her according to domestic custom. She escapes to London but she also goes in pursuit of the clever young Australian man who has encouraged her to belive that he will become her lover. What happens in Lodon is too twisted to be called tragic though Teresa comes out all right in the end.
In the part of the world Teresa came from, winter is in July, spring brides marry in September, and Christmas is consummated with roast beef, suckling pig, and brandy-laced plum pudding at 100 degrees in the shade, near the tall pine-tree loaded with gifts and tinsel as in the old country, and old carols have rung out all through the night.
This island continent lies in the water hemisphere. On the eastern coast, the neighbouring nation is Chile, though it is far, far east, Valparaiso being more than six thousand miles away in a straight line; her northern neighbours are those of the Timor Sea, the Yellow Sea; to the south is that cold, stormy sea full of earth-wide rollers, which stretches from there without land, south to the Pole.
The other world-the old world, the land hemisphere-is far above her as it is shown on maps drawn upside-down by old-world cartographers. From that world and particularly from a scarcely noticeable island up toward the North Pole the people came, all by steam; or their parents, all by sail. And there they bye round the many thousand miles of seaboard, hugging the water and the coastal rim. Inside, over the Blue Mountains, are the plains heavy with wheat, then the endless dust, and after outcrops of silver, opal, and gold, Sahara, the salt-crusted bed of a prehistoric sea, and leafless mountain ranges. There is nothing in the interior; so people look toward the water, and above to the fixed stars and constellations which first guided men there.
From the Imprint Classics paperback edition, 1990.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2004 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Christina Stead page.
Last modified: January 21, 2004.