Friday, September 5, 2008

More publicity

Just a reminder--playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, artist Sarah Tomasetti and I will be chatting with Elly Varrenti on Radio National's Life Matters program at 9am on Tuesday 9 September.

Also, another review--a generous write-up from philosopher Damon Young (check out his latest book Distraction: A Philosopher's Guide to Being Free), who's done a great job of contextualising the book in the September edition of The Big Issue.


Kirti said...

yay, Rach, so good that you have a blog for thisxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Rachel said...

Great to find this blog. I've got a feeling that it's going to shoot off in all directions because the Divided Heart has hit a nerve for a lot of people. I just wanted to let Rachel & others know that I heard some of the Radio National interview last Tuesday, dashed off an email to the lit. editor of the Canberra Times begging to review the book, received it on Friday, DEVOURED it over the w'end and have just sent off the completed review! Hopefully, it will be published this Saturday, for those who are interested.

Rachel - one of the things that struck me about this book was that as a reviewer, there was so much to say about it, more than I had the space for. I really could have written pages of response. One small comment that I didn't manage to get in: you mention in the introduction that, without doing a tally, it would seem like most of Australia's best known female artists have been childless. I found myself wondering about the post-war Aust. generation - people like Dorrit Black and Thea Proctor in particular. As Drusilla Modjeska writes, there's a correlation between the flowering of female artistic talent in the 30s-40s (in literature too) and a generation of men broken by war. Many women didn't get married or have children because their husbands and lovers had been killed or maimed. I suspect that it is still difficult for most women artists to avoid painful situations relating to love and fertility whether or not they end up having children. I would be interested to know if people are aware of comparable histories of male artists experiencing suffering to do with having or not having children.

Anyway, there's so much to say. I loved this book, so my heartfelt thanks for writing it. I hope my review does it justice because the writing of it got cut short by, you guessed it . . . picking up the kids.

all good wishes, Rachel Cunneen

Rachel Power said...

Rachel, thank you so much for your comments and sorry that I didn't see this message earlier. I worked for The Canberra Times for six years, so it would be lovely if they an a review.
I agree there would have been very complex reasons why women of that era didn't marry or have children, the war playing a significant part. Interestingly, my previous book was about an modernist artist, Alison Rehfisch, who left her husband and young daughter to move to England, where you essentially needed to make it as an artist in order to be taken seriously anywhere. So many things have changed that mean women now don't have to make such stark choices about the course of their lives. Though, as you say, women continue to have to make painful choices about their emotional lives--and I suspect artists are inclined to question their choices deeply.
As you say, many men's artistic careers were cut short by war--while women's working lives blossomed. I think there would be so many fascinating stories about male artists' lives in relation to negotiating their other 'responsibilities', including family and the pressure to be chief breadwinners. I am reading the biography of Assia Wevill (the woman Ted Hughes left Sylvia Plath for)--certainly his life is a fascinating look at the situation for a male artist/sole father (and interesting to compare to, say, painter Stella Bowen's life as a single mother/artist around the same time). Her book 'Drawn From Life' is well worth a read!
Anyway, thank you so much for your positive feedback and for penning a review, Rachel--I very much look forward to reading it!

Rachel Power said...
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