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Henry Handel Richardson
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  • 31 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 356 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.66 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 823/.912 B
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR9619.3.R5 Z53 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Richardson, Henry Handel,--pseud
    • Novelists, Australian--20th century--Biography
    • Women and literature--Australia--History--20th century

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521840552 | ISBN-10: 0521840554)

Henry Handel Richardson is celebrated for her classic Australian novels The Getting of Wisdom and The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, yet her own life-story is still to be fully told. This enthralling 2004 book is a complete biography of this enigmatic Australian literary icon. Drawing on previously unavailable records, the book sheds light on Richardson's unconventional life. Beginning with her traumatic childhood, then tracing in detail the largely unknown story of the eleven formative years Richardson spent on the Continent, the book goes on to explore the personal and social forces that moved her during her long years as a London intellectual, concluding with her last ordeal as a frail spectator in the front-line of the Battle of Britain.

• Henry Handel Richardson has been celebrated for her classic Australian novels, The Getting of Wisdom and The Fortunes of Richard Mahony amongst many others, yet her own life story has not been told until now; this fascinating book is the first complete account of her life. • Henry Handel Richardson: A Life is a lavishly produced book, featuring photographs of Richardson throughout her life, and maps of the places where she lived


Prologue; 1. Blood lines; 2. The whirlpool of destiny; 3. Trauma and its fictions; 4. Whatever happened at PLC?; 5. Love and music in Leipzig; 6. 'A failure all round'; 7. The Continent to the rescue; 8. Reappraising England; 9. A denizen of many worlds; 10. Winds of change; 11. Blackout; 12. Towards the next room.


'The private life and personality of Ethel Florence Richardson has an enduring fascination. This is partly because, under the pseudonym Henry Handel Richardson, she wrote one the few great Australian novels of the twentieth century, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony. Equally enticing to readers and critics is the intertwining in her work of biography, autobiography and fiction. The author herself, who fiercely and sometimes mischievously guarded her privacy, was her own unreliable witness. This substantial and satisfying biography by Michael Ackland brings new discoveries and insights, most notably from Richardson's European years when the would-be musician changed course to become a writer. This is an important work, astute and persuasively argued.' Brenda Niall, award-winning biographer

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