Beyond "the point of decorum": the political novels of Rosa Praed

Susan Laverick

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

Rosa Praed (1851-1935) achieved international literary fame as an Australian expatriate author in the imperial metropolis, but was later elided from a nationalist canon focused on what Sheridan has termed the ''exclusively masculine Australian legend' (''Ada Cambridge and the Female Literary Tradition' 163). When feminist scholarship restored the romance genre to the literary criticism of Australian writing, Praed''s literary reputation, together with her narratives exploring gender and cross-cultural conflicts, was reappraised. Significant as this reclamation was, however, it overlooked the political novels embedded in the romance genre. This created a blind spot in Australian literary criticism that the dissertation seeks to correct.Beyond "the point of decorum": The Political Novels of Rosa Praed offers a new contribution to literary understanding of Rosa Praed by situating her as a writer of political fiction and demonstrating her literary engagement with the political cultures of Brisbane and Westminster. Recruiting her experiences as the daughter of a Queensland cabinet minister and later, in London, as the literary colleague of an Irish Nationalist parliamentarian, Praed published a series of fine political novels that have, to date, been overlooked by Australian literary criticism. Five of these narratives are recovered by the dissertation: Policy and Passion (1881), The Right Honourable (1886), Miss Jacobsen''s Chance (1887), The Rebel Rose (1888), and Nùlma (1897).Praed''s attention to political detail is impressive, whether scrupulously researching Hansard reports from the House of Legislature in Brisbane or personally studying ''the activities of the House of Commons, from every standpoint available to an outsider' (Our Book of Memories 3). ''Outsider' was synonymous with ''woman' so the narratives privilege the women who functioned in this political culture as sexual accessories, political hostesses or covert power-brokers. ''Beyond ''the point of decorum': the political novels of Rosa Praed' pays tribute to Praed''s acknowledgement of the sexual and political role played by women in metropolitan and colonial Victorian political culture.The dissertation is premised on: i) an analysis of the genre of political fiction, including the elements of nineteenth-century Australian feminine romance and Victorian political fiction from which these narratives derive; and ii) a comparative textual analysis that explores Praed's interrogation of orthodox Victorian sexual ideology. The dissertation contends that Praed's writing of Victorian sexual politics is her most powerful contribution to the genre of political fiction and it offers a new dimension to the literary profile of Australia's first internationally famous author. It also demonstrates the need for modern scholarly editions of Praed's work.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Wallace, Joy, Principal Supervisor
  • Segal, Alexander, Co-Supervisor
Award date05 Nov 2015
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Novel
Decorum
Victorian Era
Fiction
Sexual
Romance
Political Culture
Literary Criticism
Outsider
Brisbane
Nationalists
Writer
Metropolitan
Scholarly Edition
Masculine
Ideology
Acknowledgement
Canon
Rebel
Interrogation

Cite this

Laverick, S. (2015). Beyond "the point of decorum": the political novels of Rosa Praed. Australia: Charles Sturt University.
Laverick, Susan. / Beyond "the point of decorum" : the political novels of Rosa Praed. Australia : Charles Sturt University, 2015. 366 p.
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abstract = "Rosa Praed (1851-1935) achieved international literary fame as an Australian expatriate author in the imperial metropolis, but was later elided from a nationalist canon focused on what Sheridan has termed the ''exclusively masculine Australian legend' (''Ada Cambridge and the Female Literary Tradition' 163). When feminist scholarship restored the romance genre to the literary criticism of Australian writing, Praed''s literary reputation, together with her narratives exploring gender and cross-cultural conflicts, was reappraised. Significant as this reclamation was, however, it overlooked the political novels embedded in the romance genre. This created a blind spot in Australian literary criticism that the dissertation seeks to correct.Beyond {"}the point of decorum{"}: The Political Novels of Rosa Praed offers a new contribution to literary understanding of Rosa Praed by situating her as a writer of political fiction and demonstrating her literary engagement with the political cultures of Brisbane and Westminster. Recruiting her experiences as the daughter of a Queensland cabinet minister and later, in London, as the literary colleague of an Irish Nationalist parliamentarian, Praed published a series of fine political novels that have, to date, been overlooked by Australian literary criticism. Five of these narratives are recovered by the dissertation: Policy and Passion (1881), The Right Honourable (1886), Miss Jacobsen''s Chance (1887), The Rebel Rose (1888), and N{\~A}ƒ{\^A}ƒ{\~A}‚¹lma (1897).Praed''s attention to political detail is impressive, whether scrupulously researching Hansard reports from the House of Legislature in Brisbane or personally studying ''the activities of the House of Commons, from every standpoint available to an outsider' (Our Book of Memories 3). ''Outsider' was synonymous with ''woman' so the narratives privilege the women who functioned in this political culture as sexual accessories, political hostesses or covert power-brokers. ''Beyond ''the point of decorum': the political novels of Rosa Praed' pays tribute to Praed''s acknowledgement of the sexual and political role played by women in metropolitan and colonial Victorian political culture.The dissertation is premised on: i) an analysis of the genre of political fiction, including the elements of nineteenth-century Australian feminine romance and Victorian political fiction from which these narratives derive; and ii) a comparative textual analysis that explores Praed's interrogation of orthodox Victorian sexual ideology. The dissertation contends that Praed's writing of Victorian sexual politics is her most powerful contribution to the genre of political fiction and it offers a new dimension to the literary profile of Australia's first internationally famous author. It also demonstrates the need for modern scholarly editions of Praed's work.",
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year = "2015",
language = "English",
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Laverick, S 2015, 'Beyond "the point of decorum": the political novels of Rosa Praed', Doctor of Philosophy, Charles Sturt University, Australia.

Beyond "the point of decorum" : the political novels of Rosa Praed. / Laverick, Susan.

Australia : Charles Sturt University, 2015. 366 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

TY - THES

T1 - Beyond "the point of decorum"

T2 - the political novels of Rosa Praed

AU - Laverick, Susan

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Rosa Praed (1851-1935) achieved international literary fame as an Australian expatriate author in the imperial metropolis, but was later elided from a nationalist canon focused on what Sheridan has termed the ''exclusively masculine Australian legend' (''Ada Cambridge and the Female Literary Tradition' 163). When feminist scholarship restored the romance genre to the literary criticism of Australian writing, Praed''s literary reputation, together with her narratives exploring gender and cross-cultural conflicts, was reappraised. Significant as this reclamation was, however, it overlooked the political novels embedded in the romance genre. This created a blind spot in Australian literary criticism that the dissertation seeks to correct.Beyond "the point of decorum": The Political Novels of Rosa Praed offers a new contribution to literary understanding of Rosa Praed by situating her as a writer of political fiction and demonstrating her literary engagement with the political cultures of Brisbane and Westminster. Recruiting her experiences as the daughter of a Queensland cabinet minister and later, in London, as the literary colleague of an Irish Nationalist parliamentarian, Praed published a series of fine political novels that have, to date, been overlooked by Australian literary criticism. Five of these narratives are recovered by the dissertation: Policy and Passion (1881), The Right Honourable (1886), Miss Jacobsen''s Chance (1887), The Rebel Rose (1888), and Nùlma (1897).Praed''s attention to political detail is impressive, whether scrupulously researching Hansard reports from the House of Legislature in Brisbane or personally studying ''the activities of the House of Commons, from every standpoint available to an outsider' (Our Book of Memories 3). ''Outsider' was synonymous with ''woman' so the narratives privilege the women who functioned in this political culture as sexual accessories, political hostesses or covert power-brokers. ''Beyond ''the point of decorum': the political novels of Rosa Praed' pays tribute to Praed''s acknowledgement of the sexual and political role played by women in metropolitan and colonial Victorian political culture.The dissertation is premised on: i) an analysis of the genre of political fiction, including the elements of nineteenth-century Australian feminine romance and Victorian political fiction from which these narratives derive; and ii) a comparative textual analysis that explores Praed's interrogation of orthodox Victorian sexual ideology. The dissertation contends that Praed's writing of Victorian sexual politics is her most powerful contribution to the genre of political fiction and it offers a new dimension to the literary profile of Australia's first internationally famous author. It also demonstrates the need for modern scholarly editions of Praed's work.

AB - Rosa Praed (1851-1935) achieved international literary fame as an Australian expatriate author in the imperial metropolis, but was later elided from a nationalist canon focused on what Sheridan has termed the ''exclusively masculine Australian legend' (''Ada Cambridge and the Female Literary Tradition' 163). When feminist scholarship restored the romance genre to the literary criticism of Australian writing, Praed''s literary reputation, together with her narratives exploring gender and cross-cultural conflicts, was reappraised. Significant as this reclamation was, however, it overlooked the political novels embedded in the romance genre. This created a blind spot in Australian literary criticism that the dissertation seeks to correct.Beyond "the point of decorum": The Political Novels of Rosa Praed offers a new contribution to literary understanding of Rosa Praed by situating her as a writer of political fiction and demonstrating her literary engagement with the political cultures of Brisbane and Westminster. Recruiting her experiences as the daughter of a Queensland cabinet minister and later, in London, as the literary colleague of an Irish Nationalist parliamentarian, Praed published a series of fine political novels that have, to date, been overlooked by Australian literary criticism. Five of these narratives are recovered by the dissertation: Policy and Passion (1881), The Right Honourable (1886), Miss Jacobsen''s Chance (1887), The Rebel Rose (1888), and Nùlma (1897).Praed''s attention to political detail is impressive, whether scrupulously researching Hansard reports from the House of Legislature in Brisbane or personally studying ''the activities of the House of Commons, from every standpoint available to an outsider' (Our Book of Memories 3). ''Outsider' was synonymous with ''woman' so the narratives privilege the women who functioned in this political culture as sexual accessories, political hostesses or covert power-brokers. ''Beyond ''the point of decorum': the political novels of Rosa Praed' pays tribute to Praed''s acknowledgement of the sexual and political role played by women in metropolitan and colonial Victorian political culture.The dissertation is premised on: i) an analysis of the genre of political fiction, including the elements of nineteenth-century Australian feminine romance and Victorian political fiction from which these narratives derive; and ii) a comparative textual analysis that explores Praed's interrogation of orthodox Victorian sexual ideology. The dissertation contends that Praed's writing of Victorian sexual politics is her most powerful contribution to the genre of political fiction and it offers a new dimension to the literary profile of Australia's first internationally famous author. It also demonstrates the need for modern scholarly editions of Praed's work.

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

PB - Charles Sturt University

CY - Australia

ER -

Laverick S. Beyond "the point of decorum": the political novels of Rosa Praed. Australia: Charles Sturt University, 2015. 366 p.