Author(s): Christina Stead
This collection of Christina Stead's letters spans the life of one of Australia's most illustrious writers, offering a rare insight into the relationships that influenced and sustained her work. They reveal her reflections on the art of literature, the development of her political thought, and the significance of a handful of friendships that would endure throughout her life and career. These letters cover Stead's arrival in England in 1928, as well as her time abroad in Europe and the United States. They also detail her marriage to William Blake, their life in England where they settled in 1953, as well as her brief return to Australia and her final years in England following Blake's death. A Web of Friendship includes Stead's intimate correspondence with influential literary figures such as Stanley Burnshaw, Ettore Rella, Nettie Palmer, Clem Christesen, Elizabeth Harrower and A.D. Hope, and includes an introduction by Hilary McPhee.
Christina Stead was born in Sydney in 1902, and was educated at Sydney High School and at the Teachers' Training College at Sydney University. She left Australia in 1928 and lived in England, Europe and the United States, writing and travelling with her husband, the novelist and political economist William Blake. In 1953 she and Blake settled in England. Widowed, she returned to Sydney in 1974, and died in 1983. The New York Times Book Review acclaimed her as 'one of the most distinguished novelists writing in English'. R. G. Geering graduated from the University of Sydney B. A. Dip. Ed. and became a teacher in country high schools. He served in the Australian Army from 1940 to 1946 and then returned to teaching, initially at schools and later within universities, gaining his M. A. in 1955. From 1953 until retirement in 1978 he was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor at the University of NSW. His correspondence with Christina Stead began in 1960 and he first met her in London in 1966. He wrote the first full-length study of her work, published in 1969, and formed a close acquaintance with her when she returned to Australia to live in 1974. In 1980 she appointed him as her literary trustee. He has edited the posthumous volumes Ocean of Story (1985) and I'm Dying Laughing (1986). These volumes of Christina Stead's letters are his final major projects as her literary trustee.