A Vexing Theme
I write in reply to Anne Pender’s review of my book, The Enigmatic Christina Stead, under the title ‘A Vexing Theme’ in the May edition of ABR. While I appreciate that my book offers an unconventional, even controversial, reading of Stead’s work, Pender’s review seriously misrepresents my argument. In particular, Pender fails to note that my argument is built upon detailed and cumulative readings of Stead’s published and unpublished work. Moreover, while I attend to the inevitably complex relationship between authors and their texts (to which current critical and theoretical debates are witness), at no point do I make ‘startling assertions about Stead’s sex life’. I regret that Pender’s review did not respect the subtleties of my work in the way that I have tried to respect the subtleties of Stead’s.
The Missing Translator
I was shocked that there was no acknowledgment of the translator in your piece on the success of the French edition of Robert Dessaix’s Night Letters, let alone any recognition of Ninette Boothroyd’s undoubted contribution to the book’s critical success (‘Advances’, ABR February–March 2001).
It is a sad fact that translators are rather used to this neglect, though they constantly hope that worms are turning. Will ABR please set the example in future, rather than being an offender?
When I was writing about J-P Kaufmann’s La Lutte avec L’Ange for the May issue of ABR, my head was filled with E.T.A. Hoffman, whom I was reading at the time. I notice, to my shame, that M. Kauffman was transformed into Hoffman halfway through my piece. I extend my apologies to him, though I doubt whether he is a regular reader of ABR.
Andrew Riemer, Sydney, NSW