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Laura, a spirited and unconventional heroine, attempts to adapt herself to the discipline of school and the unrelenting judgements of her classmates. The freedom of her country childhood seems far behind, as she struggles for dignity and true friendship
'Fifty-five heads turned as if by clockwork, and fifty-five pairs of eyes were levelled at the small girl in the white apron who meekly followed Mrs Gurley down the length of the dining-room. Laura crimsoned under the unexpected ordeal, and tried to fix her attention on the flouncing of Mrs Gurley's dress. The room seemed hundreds of feet long, and not a single person at the tea-tables but took stock of her. The girls made no scruple of leaning backwards and forwards, behind and before their neighbours, in order to see her better, and even the governesses were not above having a look.'
Henry Handel Richardson's first novel is a coming-of-age novel story, set in turn-of-the-century Melbourne. When clever and imaginative Laura Rambotham leaves her home to attend a prestigious ladies' college, she finds herself compromising her ideals in an effort to fit in. The Getting of Wisdom is a portrait of an artistic and unwieldy soul chafing against stuffy ordinariness, told with great empathy and passion.
About the Author
Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson was born in 1870 in Melbourne, and took the pen name 'Henry Handel' from her uncle. After her father's untimely death, Ethel and her sister were supported by their mother. She met her husband J. George Robertson in Germany, where both were students, and where Ethel began her career as a translator and sustained an interest in European culture. Her novels include Maurice Guest (1908), The Fortunes of Richard Mahony (1917-29), The Era of Childhood and Other Stories (1934) and The Young Cosima (1939). Her autobiography, Myself When Young, remained unfinished at her death in 1946.
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 1st June 2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Edition Number: 1