Review: Eleanor Dark – Prelude to Christopher

Prelude to Christopher
Eleanor Dark
This modernist novel is a classic of Australian literature that is not talked about nearly enough. It is a discussion of the effects of eugenics in the 1930s Australia, as well as the hereditary nature of madness.
875910The beginning of this novel starts off interestingly enough, with Nigel being injured in a car crash. We are then almost immediately introduced to the fragmented consciousness of Linda, his wife. Things get progressively more melodramatic from there though.
I have to confess I didn’t finish reading this text. The modernist style and flow of consciousness style really wasn’t up my alley. I had to read it and write an essay on it on how modernism and realism developed in Australian literature. I have to say it’s not one of my better essays at all.
It took me ages to work out that Dark was the surname of the author who wrote the book! Well, not ages, but I was confused for a bit, when I was searching to buy it online. The cover certainly fits in with the Dark theme don’t you think?
I think the most interesting thing about this novel was that the time progression is really strange (modernism!!). The book is officially set out into 4 parts of 4 days, but the time period covered within is much more than that due to flashbacks.
When reading about this novel, I found it interesting that Dark took a long time to write it because she was dealing with raising a small child, and she felt that it was impossible to write while trying to look after him during the day. Perhaps that is where the idea of Linda’s desire for a child comes from. The idealism in the text is said to come from the ideas of Dark’s own husband.
I’m unable to give you a link to buy this text, as it seems to be out of print everywhere (much to the dismay of my literature teacher). I got mine from a friend who had previously studied the unit. If you live in Australia, and want to read it, you’re welcome to my copy!

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2 thoughts on “Review: Eleanor Dark – Prelude to Christopher

  1. Hmm. Great review! I hadn't heard of this. It's a shame it's out of print. Despite your difficulty in reading it (which would normally deter me) I love books/plots/characters about madness, so I'd probably try it out anyway if I could. I'll keep my eye out for a copy. Thanks for the post! 😀

    • I&#39;m just not that into modernism I suppose, and that gets to me when I&#39;m trying to read a text. From what I gathered, this book is about whether madness is inherited or created in society, particularly in Australia in the 1930s.<br /><br />Did you see my review for Karen Tyrrell&#39;s memoir about her bipolar disorder? I had a much more favourable view of that book and it&#39;s certainly

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