‘The novels of Eleanor Dark’, Hemisphere, 17, 1, January 1973, pp. 38-41 (pdf of out-of-copyright material made available by the author)
The piece is interesting as a relatively early discussion of this writer (1901-85) and as an indication of then current assessments of other Australian authors.
Dark’s concern with ideas rather than with action [says McQueen] placed her outside the mainstream of Australian fiction, but as authors such as White, Porter and Keneally are accepted it may be that Dark will acquire a new generation of readers who will gain wisdom from her attempts to grapple with those issues which once more beset Australian consciences. She can provide a more than useful point of departure.
Many years later, McQueen’s assessment was revisited by Marivic Wyndham (see particularly her footnote 3 on page 19) . Wyndham wrote the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry on Dark. Given McQueen’s remark about Dark being a ‘point of departure’ it is interesting to note that James Michener is said to have modelled his historical novels on Dark’s The Timeless Land (1941).
Honest History records its appreciation to Humphrey McQueen for making his private archive available to Honest History.