Falling between the cracks: Dora Wilcox and the neglected Tasman literary world


  • Helen Bones Western Sydney University


Dora Wilcox, nationalism, Tasman world history, Australia, New Zealand, literary networks


The poet Dora Wilcox lived and worked in a world of colonial and Australasian literary networks that created and encouraged her multiple national affiliations. As a New Zealander who moved to Australia, however, the influence of mid-century cultural nationalism did not allow her to retain a place in literary history because of her movement between New Zealand, Australia and Britain, her transnational identity and her gender. This paper examines contemporary evaluations of Wilcox to reconstruct the workings of the Tasman literary world within which she operated. The false dichotomies between writers who stayed and writers who left, and women’s and men’s writing, have led to an inaccurate picture of the opportunities available to writers outside the literary academy. Very few of the recent reassessments of early twentieth century literature have shown interest in writers’ transnational concerns, which explains why Wilcox still languishes in obscurity.


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