Southerly 70.2: Romance (Digital Edition)


Is Australian romance an oxymoron?




Southerly 70.2

Digital Edition*

Is Australian romance an oxymoron? It has been long thought so; not for us Don Juan or Don Quixote but Ned Kelly and Tom Collins. Even when romance rears its alluring head in Australian fiction, as with Harry’s wooing of Sybilla in My Brilliant Career, it is often quashed as a distraction or delusion. More recently, celebrated texts of their times such as Puberty Blues (1979), Oscar and Lucinda (1988), Praise (1992) have confirmed the view that romance is difficult in Australia – and in Australian fiction.

If we have prided ourselves on taking the steely-eyed view without the filter of rose-coloured glasses, we may also have been looking in the wrong places for romance. This issue of Southerly engages with the question of Australian romance and presents work that promises to make us re-think the question, right down to our unromantic souls. This issue includes essays on romance writers, a real-life spiritualist romance between two women, a new “Byronic” reading of Gwen Harwood, and a male colonial romance from 1866, which is full of surprises.

This issue also includes the 2010 Blaiklock lecture, this year given by Lyn McCredden on Barbara Hanrahan, which weaves a compelling and poetic case for the connection between the sacred and the erotic in Hanrahan’s work.

Much of the fiction and poetry also connects to the theme of romance and love, all of it is exciting and includes new works by established writes such as Jill Jones, Cath Kenneally, Ouyang Yu, Π.O., and Jessica White as well as writers who will be new to the reader – and a revelation. The issue also contains reviews on the theme and with broader reach.




David Brooks  Mist

Bron Bateman  Love Song

David Mortimer  Valentine’s Day Headache

Cath Kenneally  lord of the dance

 –  roller derby

Peter Dawncy  evening field

П.O.  Rolf Harris

– Coleridge

Jill Jones  Recollections in the Stairwell

 – My Beautiful Misfortunes

Ouyang Yu  Softness

Bron Bateman  Accoutrements

Ouyang Yu  Place names Hong Kong, a random sonnet list


Belinda Campbell  Littoral

Michelle Sweeney  The Leaving

Mark O’Flynn  Political Correctness

Paul Dawson  The Death of a Beautiful Woman


Lyn McCredden 2010 Blaiklock lecture “A painted queen jumped free”: body and spirit in the fiction of Barbara Hanrahan with an introduction by Robert Dixon

Roslynn Haynes  Marie Bjelke Petersen’s romances: Fulfilling the contract, subverting the spirit

Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver  Louise Mack and Colonial Pseudo-Literature

Jessica White  “The one absolutely unselfish love”: Spiritualism and the collaborative writing of Rosa Praed and Nancy Harward

Toni Johnson-Woods  “Adventures of a Squatter”: a colonial male romance

Ann-Marie Priest  Between Sanctity and Liberation: The Lives and Loves of Gwen Harwood

Nicolette Stasko  A Different Kind of Romance or Reading Romance in Robert Gray’s The Land I Came Through Last and Evelyn Juers’ House of Exiles


Kate Livett on Annette Stewart, Barbara Hanrahan: A Biography

Andrew J. Carruthers on Π.O., Big Numbers: new and selected poems

Fiona Morrison on Dorothy Hewett, The Gipsy Dancer and Early Poems

Shalmalee Palekar on Anne-Marie Smith (ed.), Culture Is… Australian Stories Across Cultures, An Anthology

Sophie Clarke on Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver (eds) The Anthology of Colonial Australian Romance Fiction

David Brooks on Noel Rowe, Ethical Investigations: Essays on Australian Literature and Poetics


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*Digital Edition, please note:

This item is the digital edition of Southerly, a PDF file suitable for screen reading or home/office printing (2.6 MB).

Upon placing your order you will receive an invoice that contains a download link, which you may use to access and download the issue up to three times. The link must be used within 60 days. After this time it expires and cannot be used for further downloads.



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