Pioneering legacy

A poet’s love–fear relationship with the past
by
May 2022, no. 442
Buy this book

Judith Wright: Selected writings edited by Georgina Arnott

La Trobe University Press, $34.99 pb, 336 pp

Pioneering legacy

A poet’s love–fear relationship with the past
by
May 2022, no. 442
Portrait of Judith Wright, May 1998, by Terry Milligan (phra ajahn ekaggata FKA terry milligan/The National Library of Australia/PIC P2089 LOC Q97)
Portrait of Judith Wright, May 1998, by Terry Milligan (phra ajahn ekaggata FKA terry milligan/The National Library of Australia/PIC P2089 LOC Q97)

Georgina Arnott’s 2016 biography The Unknown Judith Wright was an absorbing exercise in discovering the facets of Judith Wright’s early life and formative experience that were unknown, hidden, or forgotten, by biographers as well as by Wright herself. It was a revealing study of a writer who had a love-fear relationship with the projects of biography and autobiography. In the 1950s, Wright wrote loving, admiring histories of her pioneering family, but in her autobiography, Half a Lifetime, published in 1999, the year before her death, she began: ‘Autobiography is not what I want to write.’ There were good reasons for this. There were the formal challenges of life writing – the person writing is not the person written about – but also what Wright had discovered, in her archival research for her rewriting of her family history, about her Wyndham colonial ancestors’ role in Aboriginal dispossession, and violence.

Philip Mead reviews 'Judith Wright: Selected writings' edited by Georgina Arnott

Judith Wright: Selected writings

edited by Georgina Arnott

La Trobe University Press, $34.99 pb, 336 pp

Buy this book

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