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The Life of Such is Life

A Cultural History of an Australian Classic

Roger Osborne



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Sydney University Press
01 March 2022
Since its publication in 1903, Joseph Furphy's Such is Life has become established as an Australian classic. But which version of the novel is the authoritative text, and what does its history reveal about Australian cultural life? From Furphy's handwritten manuscript through numerous editions, a controversial abridgement for the British market (condemned by A.D. Hope as a 'mutilation'), and periods of obscurity and rediscovery, the text has been reshaped and repackaged by many hands. Furphy's first editors at the Bulletin diluted his socialist message and corrected his Australian slang to create a more marketable book. Later, literary players including Vance and Nettie Palmer, Miles Franklin, Kate Baker and Angus & Robertson all took an interest in how Furphy's work should be published. In a fascinating piece of literary detective work, Osborne traces the book's journey and shows how economic and cultural forces helped to shape the novel we read today.
Imprint:   Sydney University Press
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 254mm,  Width: 178mm, 
Weight:   270g
ISBN:   9781743327692
ISBN 10:   1743327692
Series:   Sydney Studies in Australian Literature
Pages:   210
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
List of Figures; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; Chronology Introduction: Entangled in the Work; Bushman and Bookworm: Furphy's Literary Foundations; Such is Life: From the Writer's Sanctum to the Literary Marketplace; Versions of Such is Life: Typescript and Book; An Anabranch of Such is Life: Rigby's Romance as Typescript, Serial and Book; The Death of the Author: Kate Baker's Such is Life; Wartime Revival: Tom Collins in the 1940s; Shaping the Canon: Joseph Furphy Goes to University; Epilogue: Where the (adj. sheol) is Joseph Furphy's Such is Life? Works Cited; Index.

Roger Osborne is Senior Lecturer in English and Writing at James Cook University, Cairns.

  • Winner of Queensland Literary Awards 2022 (Australia)

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