C. K. Stead (Christian Karlston Stead) Biography
(1932– ), (Christian Karlston Stead), The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot, Queseda, Walking Westwards, Geographies, Between
New Zealand critic, editor, poet, and novelist, born in Auckland, educated at Auckland University College and Bristol University. He first made an impact with The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot (1964), a text on modernist poetics which has been widely used in British and American universities. He has also produced volumes of verse including Queseda (1978), Walking Westwards (1978), Geographies (1982), Between (1988), and Voices (1990), as well as short stories, Five for the Symbol (1981). In his novels Stead has drawn on exaggerated conflicts within New Zealand society in order to create a dramatic story-line. They include Smith's Dream (1971), which depicts a possible rural guerrilla movement tearing the country apart; All Visitors Ashore (1984), an evocation of the literary scene of the 1950s (including a portrait of Janet Frame); The Death of the Body (1986), which dramatizes the culture of the university; Sister Hollywood (1989); and End of the World at the End of the Century (1992), praised for its portrait of a middle-aged woman's psyche. Stead was a Professor of English at the University of Auckland for twenty years before retiring in 1986. A writer who enjoys controversy, in his later years Stead became a polemicist of what might be called ‘the cultural right’, standing up to perceived orthodoxies of bi-culturalism and feminism which he saw as threatening to swamp the New Zealand literary scene. Other works include In the Glass Case (1981) and Answering to the Language (1989), both collections of essays; and Pound, Yeats, Eliot, and the Modern Movement (1985). He is the editor of The Faber Book of Contemporary South Pacific Stories (1994).
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