University Of Tasmania

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Redefining Eve Langley : Eve Langley and her editors

posted on 2023-05-27, 13:56 authored by Vines, HMM
This thesis explores the relationship between Australian author Eve Langley (1904 - 1974) and her editors at the Sydney based publishing house Angus & Robertson. Since Langley was resident in Auckland, New Zealand from 1932 - 1960, the chief sustenance of this relationship was letter writing. The Eve Langley/Angus & Robertson correspondence archive, which was purchased by the Mitchell Library in 1977, contains 286 items, most of which involve Langley as author or recipient. The relationship began in 1940, with the acceptance for publication of Langley's first novel The Pea Pickers. The correspondence covers the period October 1941 to July 1975. The Angus & Robertson letters provide a chronology of Langley's writing practices, as well as biographical information that locates her activities more precisely than has previously been achieved. Close analysis of this correspondence has not been done before, despite its obvious importance as primary source material. Other material has been drawn upon to clarify or supplement the information provided in the letters. Langley wrote literally millions of words about her life, describing experiences, feelings and activities, yet despite this, its veracity - and probity - is the subject of intense speculation. This has in part come about through the writing of a rather problematic biography, The Importance of Being Eve Langley, by Joy Thwaite. The biography argues that Langley suffered from psychiatric and personality disorders which led inevitably to a decline in her creative powers and an inability to lead a meaningful life. The biographer's methodology, in which the unpublished autobiographical novels are treated as a transparent window onto the life, created a confusing - and arguably inaccurate - profile of Langley's life and work. By way of contrast, the letters Langley sent to her editors had a professional purpose, and provide another perspective to Langley's life over a period of nearly thirty years. These letters tell us about the aspirations and activities of Eve Langley during this period, and the editorial process followed by Australia's foremost editors. It also provides an opportunity to reconstruct what is known and understood of this most interesting of Australian writers.


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Copyright 2000 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (MA)--University of Tasmania, 2000. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 101-103)

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