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Deborah Fitzgerald

Deborah Fitzgerald’s biography, Her Sunburnt Country: The extraordinary literary life of Dorothea Mackellar, struggles to convince readers of the validity of both those adjectives. Mackellar’s life was not especially literary: she did not mix in literary circles, and had no need to write for a living, although as a young woman she published many poems in journals. Nor was it an extraordinary life, except in the sense that it was extremely privileged by her family’s wealth and social standing. It was an unusual life for a woman of her time and place, in that she did not marry; but nor did she live independently of her family until after her parents’ deaths. By then she was in her forties and had effectively stopped publishing verse.

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