Miles Franklin My Brilliant Career

ISBN 13: 9781481950435

My Brilliant Career

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Set in the end of the 19th century, My Brilliant Career tells the story of Sybylla Melvyn, a gifted teenage girl marooned in rural Australia. Her beginnings were idyllic, but her father's restless ambition starts a chain of events that result in her expulsion from the Paradise of Bruggabrong to humble Possum Gully. Soon Sybylla's life in general is a struggle against endless, fruitless labor, and poverty of pocket, mind, and spirit. Hope arrives when her rich grandmother decides it's time for Sybylla to be put on the marriage market. At grandmother's house, Sybylla blooms in the atmosphere of refinement, culture, and fun. Romance finds her when Harold Beecham comes calling. But financial troubles at home tear her away from this oasis, and she is forced to become a governess to the trashy M'Swat family. In the end, she is back home in the same soul-crushing rut she was in before. This book is a bit like a grown-up Little House in the Prairie but set in 19th century outback Australia rather than the Wild West of the United States. This is a story of a young, spirited woman who rebels against convention and the desire of her relatives that she marry the wealthy, and (it has to be said) highly desirable, local squatter. Unlike Laura Ingalls, Sybilla chooses the road less traveled and refuses to marry. She follows her dreams instead. What makes this book so remarkable is that it was written 100 years ago yet the voice of the narrator is so fresh. The book is funny and inspiring.

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From the Back Cover:

Written by a teenager living in the Australian bush in the 1890s and originally published in 1901, Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career is a candid representation of the aspirations and frustrations of a young woman constrained by middle-class social arrangements, especially the pressure to marry. My Brilliant Career has continued to delight readers and to cause them to locate their personal realities in the struggle of Franklin’s heroine, Sybylla Melvyn, to recognize and to pursue what she most wants and needs in her life.

In addition to the rich selection of appendices, this edition includes maps of early twentieth-century Australia and a critical introduction that outlines political and economic developments relevant to the novel, traces the literary landscape upon which My Brilliant Career first appeared, and describes the reception and interpretation given the novel in the century after its initial publication (including the celebrated 1979 film adaptation).

About the Author:

Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, known as Miles Franklin (1879–1954) was an Australian writer and feminist who is best known for her novel My Brilliant Career, published in 1901. While she wrote throughout her life, her other major literary success, All That Swagger, was not published until 1936. She was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature, and she actively pursued this goal by supporting writers, literary journals, and writers' organisations. She has had a long-lasting impact on Australian literary life through her endowment of a major literary award known as the Miles Franklin Award.

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