Made in New Zealand: A Biographical Criticism of the Australian Poet and Journalist Elizabeth Riddell (1907-1998)

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dc.contributor.advisor Cronin, J en
dc.contributor.advisor Leggott, M en Russell, Marcia en 2013-02-25T22:31:55Z en 2012 en
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dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Elizabeth Riddell was a distinguished poet and award winning journalist, who made Australia her home for most of her long life. She was also a New Zealand writer, born in Napier in 1907 and educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Timaru. Riddell was writing and publishing poetry as a schoolgirl in New Zealand from the age of around fourteen until she left for Sydney to work as a journalist in 1928 and began what was to be a stellar career as one of Australia's most respected women of letters. She never returned to New Zealand, except once on an assignment, and died in Sydney aged 91, still writing her famously acerbic book reviews for the Bulletin and still working on her poetry. Despite urgings from publishers, she had consistently declined to publish her life story as memoir or autobiography, insisting there was no need because 'it's all in the poetry'. This thesis aims to track Riddell's biography through a close analysis of her early and later poetry in the context of her formative years in New Zealand and her subsequent career as a journalist in Australia. The primary objective is to reclaim, in part, a distinguished New Zealand writer who remains virtually unknown in this country because Elizabeth Riddell, like many of our raw products, was made here but finished elsewhere. She joins a tradition of New Zealand women writers and artists who made journeys between the margins and centres of their cultural milieu as trans-national citizens of a new century, but in Riddell's case, the shift was permanent and her rejection of New Zealand and her family connections appears to have been total. But was it? In the most comprehensive collection of her life's work, Selected Poems (1992), a New Zealand reader, even without some knowledge of the poet's life history would, I suggest, readily identify imagery that suggests a New Zealand environment and narrative themes that recall a past life. This impression of repressed memory intensifies further in later collections where poems haunted by the mysteries of ancestry suggest that the urgency to revisit what was once rejected has increased with increasing age. Furthermore when these poems are tested against her own accounts of her life and her opinions in often lengthy recorded interviews and collections of biographical essays they tend to undercut the level-headed lack of sentiment displayed in her public persona as an outspoken journalist and penetrating critic. It is this tension between revelation and concealment that I propose to explore through a close reading of selected works published during Riddell's long career in the context of her hybrid working life as a poet and journalist. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title Made in New Zealand: A Biographical Criticism of the Australian Poet and Journalist Elizabeth Riddell (1907-1998) en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
pubs.elements-id 373669 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2013-02-26 en

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