"Writing to understand": a critical study of the major works of Ruth Park

Greaves, Jill (1998) "Writing to understand": a critical study of the major works of Ruth Park. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the major works of the Australian author, Ruth Park, a writer who, it is my contention, has been unduly neglected academically. Ruth Park has written in every medium and every genre for every age group of Australians for over fifty years. She is, arguably, one of our most prolific writers but her enormous output has not been achieved at the expense of quality, as her numerous prizes and awards attest. The body of her work encapsulates a convergence of concerns manifested through an increasingly skilful handling of complex issues, yet her novels have retained their popularity over many years because she writes, not of extraordinary people and events, but of the quotidian concerns of ordinary people, of issues which she finds both culturally and personally significant. In seeking to understand herself and her culture, she has produced a body of work which anatomises both; in representing Australians to themselves, she has necessarily written from within the culture as it has evolved over the years and, simultaneously, has had a considerable influence upon that culture. While her work is personally representative, therefore, it is also both social commentary and social history.

Until comparatively recently, academic attitudes to Australian literature have been dominated by colonial deference to the traditions and the greatness of our English literary heritage. In this post-colonial era, such attitudes are changing rapidly, but there are resultant gaps in our awareness and appreciation of our own literary heritage, the almost complete absence of studies of Ruth Park's work constituting one such major hiatus. Recent academic recognition of Park's contributions to our literature will almost certainly lead to many studies of her work. This thesis endeavours to be an introduction, a reference source, for those that will follow.

Item ID: 38471
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Australian authors; Australian literature; Australian women writers; books; children's literature; cultural heritage; literary works; major works; Missus; New Zealand; novelists; novels; Poor Man's Orange; Ruth Park; stories; Sydney; The Harp in the South; writing
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 05:25
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200502 Australian Literature (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature @ 100%
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