Barbara Baynton’s short-story collection Bush Studies is famous for its stark realism—for not romanticising bush life, instead showing all its bleakness and harshness.
Economic of style, influenced by the great nineteenth-century Russian novelists, Baynton presents the Australian bush as dangerous and isolating for the women who inhabit it.
‘The terror Baynton evokes,’ Helen Garner writes in her introduction to the book, ‘is elemental, sexual, unabashedly female.’
About the Author
Barbara Baynton was born in Scone, New South Wales. She worked briefly as a governess before marrying the first of her three husbands in 1880.
In the 1890s Baynton began writing short stories, poetry and articles for the Bulletin. Her first tale, ‘The Tramp’, was published in 1896. After failing to find an Australian publisher for her collection of short stories, she visited London and in 1902 Duckworth published Bush Studies. Human Toll, a novel, appeared in 1907.
A successful businesswoman and renowned socialite, Baynton spent her later year in Melbourne, dying in 1929.
'So precise, so complete, with such insight into detail and such force of statement, it ranks with the masterpieces of realism in any language.' * Bulletin *