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Helen Elliott

Helen Elliott is a prominent literary critic. Her writing has appeared in ABRThe Monthly, The Australian, The Age, Griffith Review, and numerous other publications.

Helen Elliott reviews 'Searching for Charmian' by Suzanne Chick

May 1994, no. 160 01 May 1994
I came to Suzanne Chick’s book full of prejudice and cynicism. Certainly Chick was the illegitimate daughter Charmian Clift had when she was nineteen, but Chick was relinquished at two weeks to her adoptive family and Clift took her own life before Chick began to make enquiries about her natural mother. What could Chick have to say about Clift that those who knew her couldn’t? Wouldn’t this ... (read more)

Helen Elliott reviews 'A Wish of Distinction: Colonial gentility and femininity' by Penny Russell

October 1994, no. 165 01 October 1994
Penny Russell could not have chanced upon a better phrase than Jane Austen’s ‘It was rather a wish of distinction … It was the desire of appearing superior to other people’ when she was seeking a title for this book. The colonial gentility of Melbourne, or ‘Society’ if you want to use their understanding of who they were, could only define themselves in terms of who they were not – o ... (read more)

Helen Elliott reviews 'Martin Boyd’s Langton Novels' by Brian McFarlane

February–March 1983, no. 48 01 February 1983
Brian McFarlane’s small book on Martin Boyd’s Langton novels is a particularly measured and useful study. He makes no grand claims for Boyd but sees and appreciates him for the writer that he is when he is at his best, and the Langton novels – The Cardboard Crown, A Difficult Young Man, Outbreak of Love, and When Blackbirds Sing – certainly see Boyd at his best. Boyd does not by any means ... (read more)