Publication Details

Crozier-De Rosa,S. 2012, 'Citizen of Australia...citizen of the world: an Australian new woman's feminist and nationalist vision', Lilith: Feminist History Journal, no. 17/18, pp. 34-71.


Writing in the 1890s, South Australian author, Catherine Martin, contributed to what John Docker has labelled ‘those feverish years of utopian and dystopian visions’. Her popular 1890 novel, An Australian Girl, presents modern historians with one fin-de-siècle vision for a newly emerging Australian nation, a vision that reveals itself as a utopian blend of feminist and nationalist aspirations. What emerges from this book is a sense of an Australian landscape that was as feminised as masculinised; a belief in a national identity that may have been transnationalist in that it was shaped by understandings of what it meant to be British or European, but that also revealed itself as partially antagonistic to this an old world identity to the extent in that it pitted a New-World Australianness against an Old-World Britishness; and, a belief in a newly emerging Australian nation that, far from being insular or isolated, was, rather, integrally connected to the world community. Australia, Martin’s writing affirmed, had the potential to be an ideal state, one that represented an escape for women as well as men from an overly-decadent, overly-civilised, decaying Old World.

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