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Introduction by Brenda Niall
It has never been my way to say much about my private life. Rightly or wrongly, I believed this only concerned myself. And I trusted to my husband to supply, on my death, any further information that might be asked for. Now that he is gone, however, there is no one to take his place, and so I propose to jot down a few facts about myself, and memories of my childhood, which may possibly be of interest to some who have read my books.
So begins Myself When Young (first published posthumously, in 1948) Henry Handel Richardson’s frank and engaging account of her childhood living in the post offices of various rural towns, her adolescence at boarding school in Melbourne that would form the basis of her much loved novel The Getting of Wisdom, her time in Leipzig studying music and her early years of marriage. With insights into the inspiration for some of her most famous characters, and comments on the response to her depiction of those characters and events following the publication of her early novels, Myself When Young is not only a marvellous account of a life, but a fascinating companion to the fictional works of one of our greatest novelists.
‘A gorgeous coming-of-age story that is both charming and deeply moving.’
‘More than any other novel in our literature, more than Voss, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony deserves the accolade of the Great Australian Novel… it is a mighty and moving work, this bursting at the seams anti-epic to the muse of a vanity which sees every golden bowl broken and every silver cord loosed.’