Flashing Eyes and Floating Hair: A reading of Gwen Harwood’s pseudonymous poetry
Australian Scholarly Publishing, $34.95 pb, 271 pp
Literary criticism is a rara avis in Australia’s publishing world, perhaps only to be hoped for under an imprint such as Australian Scholarly Publishing. Yet a search of its recent publications shows that among nineteen titles this is the only instance – and one facilitated by a Melbourne University publishing grant. Rightly so, for Cassandra L. Atherton’s is academic writing in the best sense of that abused adjective: argumentative, lucid, grounded in extensive research, sustained by a lively intelligence and harnessed to a bright idea. None of which means that I agree with everything she says, but then one function of good theoretical discourse is to provoke disagreement.