Institute of Advanced Studies

Christina Stead Research Symposium


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Christina Stead and literary ownership

The Institute of Advanced Studies at UWA and the Chair of Australian Literature are pleased to present this research symposium.

When: 23 November 2012, 9.30am-5pm | Venue: University Club Seminar Room 1

Christina SteadStarting out from Sydney, Christina Stead lived and worked across Europe, England and the United States, only returning to Australia at the end of her long life. Recently Stead has been the focus of renewed debates about the status of Australian writers in relation to the greater world of literature: does Stead belong to her native Australia or to the world republic of letters? Where does such a great cosmopolitan belong?

Underlying these debates is a set of cultural changes in literary proprietorship, in the ways writers, including their lives and works, are subject to ownership. What does the history of Christina Stead and her work tell us about the cultural domains, including the national, within which we read her life and work? How are Stead’s proliferating fictions of twentieth-century politics, society and sexual relations valued now?

This symposium will also explore the ‘unofficial’ or unrevealed aspects of literary proprietorship including ownership of and rights in archives, biography, letters, executorship, as well as the contradictions of critical work, such as introductions, essays and prefaces, designed to maximize the circulation of books and the understanding of fiction, and the restrictions of the copyright regimes, past and present. The symposium aims to progress our understanding of Christina Stead’s value in the global literary system.

Louise Adler AM, CEO and Publisher, Melbourne University Press will give a free public lecture Re-reading Christina Stead on 22 November at 6pm.