The Girl Green as Elderflower : Text Classics - Randolph Stow

The Girl Green as Elderflower

Text Classics

By: Randolph Stow, Kerryn Goldsworthy (Introduction by)

eBook | 26 August 2015

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He thought of his dream, of how he had looked up out of his hole, his pit, his wolf-pit, and seen the foreign leaves, which had formed themselves into a face...

Laid low by a tropical disease and an accompanying malaise, Crispin Clare returns to his ancestral home in East Anglia. Local folklore seeps into his fever dreams and into his writing, and the lines between reality and myth soon start to blur. In this finely woven tale of illness and recovery, family and fable, Randolph Stow creates a unique imaginative landscape, populated by figures from old English myths and legends, and from Clare's present.

Julian Randolph 'Mick' Stow was born in Geraldton, Western Australia, in 1935. He attended local schools before boarding at Guildford Grammar in Perth, where the renowned author Kenneth Mackenzie had been a student.

While at university he sent his poems to a British publisher. The resulting collection, Act One, won the Australian Literature Society's Gold Medal in 1957—as did the prolific young writer's third novel, To the Islands, the following year. To the Islands also won the 1958 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Stow reworked the novel for a second edition almost twenty-five years later, but never allowed its two predecessors to be republished.

He worked briefly as an anthropologist's assistant in New Guinea—an experience that subsequently informed Visitants, one of three masterful late novels—then fell seriously ill and returned to Australia. In the 1960s he lectured at universities in Australia and England, and lived in America on a Harkness fellowship. He published his second collection of verse, Outrider; the novel Tourmaline, on which critical opinion was divided; and his most popular fiction, The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea and Midnite.

For years afterwards Stow produced mainly poetry, libretti and reviews. In 1969 he settled permanently in England: first in Suffolk, then in Essex, where he moved in 1981. He received the 1979 Patrick White Award.

Randolph Stow died in 2010, aged seventy-four. A private man, a prodigiously gifted yet intermittently silent author, he has been hailed as 'the least visible figure of that great twentieth-century triumvirate of Australian novelists whose other members are Patrick White and Christina Stead'.

Praise for The Girl Green as Elderflower

'As eccentric as it is magnificently achieved.' Geordie Williamson

'His novels and poetry embody a uniquely rich and strange account of the land and people of Australia that we can ill afford to lose.' Australian Book Review

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