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Miles Franklin (Miles Stella Marie Sarah Franklin) Biography

(1879–1954), (Miles Stella Marie Sarah Franklin), My Brilliant Career, All That Swagger, My Career Goes Bung

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Samuel Foote Biography to Furioso


Australian novelist, born in New South Wales. Her early years were spent at Brindabella, her parents' remote farm in New South Wales, and later at Possum Gully which formed the background for her most famous work, My Brilliant Career (1901), a largely autobiographical novel about a young girl, Sybylla Melvyn, whose aspirations to become a writer are thwarted by the conventions and strictures of bush society. Franklin later moved to Sydney where she worked as a nurse and as a housemaid before becoming involved in a more literary milieu; she met Joseph Furphy, Norman Lindsay, and Henry Lawson (who wrote the preface to My Brilliant Career) and became active in the Australian feminist movement. She then went to America and, after the outbreak of the First World War, to England, where she became involved in the war effort, returning to Australia in 1927. Other works include All That Swagger (1936), about an Australian pioneering clan based on her own family; My Career Goes Bung (1946), a sequel to her first novel, about her free-thinking life as a Sydney writer. She also published novels under the pseudonym ‘Brent of Bin Bin’ including Up the Country (1928), Ten Creeks Run (1930), Back to Bool Bool (1931), Prelude to Waking (1950), Cockatoos (1954), and Gentlemen at Gyang Gyang (1956), most of which project a romantic Australian nationalism and a celebration of pioneering life. She is as famous for her unconventional life and radical attitudes, held far in advance of her time, as she is for her fiction, despite attempts on the part of feminist critics to reassess her work.

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