Ethel Anderson: Contribution as Australian Poet

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      Ethel Campbell Louise Anderson (1883-1958) Australian essayist, short-story writer and poet. She was born in Leamington, England, whilst her Australian parents were visiting Britain, and grew up on her grandfather's property in Picton, New South Wales. Educated initially at home by governesses, she later attended Sydney Church of England Girls' Grammar School. After marrying an officer in the British Army; she lived in India for a number of years and moved back to Australia when he took up a diplomatic post there in 1926.

      Ethel considered herself to be chiefly a poet and, at a time when Australia had 'not become acceptable to other English-speaking nations', fused the two cultures to which she belonged to perform for Australia, the service the Nature poets. . . have done for England'. In Sunday at Yarralumla (1947) she evokes English Sunday languor and Australian lushness, and in Squatter's Luck (1942, enlarged 1954) she celebrates both the people and the landscape of Australia. However, she is best remembered for her fiction and in particular for her arch but incisive discontinuous narrative, At Parramatta (1956). Set in the 1850s it comments on patriarchal power and exposes male foibles by drawing parallels with the seven deadly sins.

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