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Jane Mander Biography

(1877–1949), The Story of a New Zealand River, The Passionate Puritan, The Strange Attraction, Allen Adair

zealand auckland novel

New Zealand novelist, born near Auckland. A family timber-milling background is reflected in her powerful and sensitive depiction of the wild North Island landscape as spiritually as well as physically challenging, as in The Story of a New Zealand River (1920). Both The Passionate Puritan (1922) and The Strange Attraction (1922) evoked sexual as well as colonial tensions; in this respect Mander was ahead of her time, and endured much hostile criticism of her writing. Her best novel, Allen Adair (1925), charted terrain that later New Zealand writers were to see as central issues of personal and national identity but was largely ignored in New Zealand on publication: regrettably, as Mander's work represents an important women's perspective on a culture whose myths have too often been defined in male terms. The Besieging City: A Novel of New York was published in 1926. She lived in London from 1923 and returned to Auckland in 1932 intending to write of that country she had once described as being ‘in my bones’, but she died without realizing her ambition. Jane Mander (1972) by Dorothea Turner is a critical study.

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