‘so insistently literary’: the Englishness of Randolph Stow

Richards, Fiona (2015). ‘so insistently literary’: the Englishness of Randolph Stow. Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, 14(5), article no. 8.

URL: http://www.nla.gov.au/openpublish/index.php/jasal/...


Randolph Stow (1935–2010) moved to England in the 1960s, choosing to settle in his ancestral places, first in Suffolk, then in Essex. This article considers how ‘Englishness’ is evident in his choice of home, in the influences on his writings, in his interest in myth, and in his use of dialect. Continuity and renewal lie at the heart of his final two novels, The Girl Green as Elderflower and The Suburbs of Hell in Essex, this ‘circling’ a particularly English trait. Stow came to know and love his new East Anglian countryside, writing its greenness and its flowers into The Girl Green as Elderflower, its gritty coast into The Suburbs of Hell. Much has been written of Stow’s evocation of landscape in his Australian novels, and the same receptivity to place can be seen in his final two novels. The article draws heavily on biographical resonances and on Stow’s many letters home, as well as linking his work to other writers who have been captivated by the unique atmosphere of the east of England, with its flat expanses and wide skies.

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