Publication Details

Dale, L. 2007, '"Only Scratch the Surface": Reading Franklin's Cockatoos', Southerly: a review of Australian literature, vol. 67, no. 1-2, pp. 377-390.


Miles Franklin's novel My Brilliant Career has attracted a great deal of critical attention, perhaps prompted in part by fascination with the way Franklin thematises reading itself. Much less attention has been given to a set of books which can be understood as sequels and interlocutors to Franklin's first and most famous novel. Among these are My Career Goes Bung, written soon after My Brilliant Career but not published until 1946; Cockatoos, probably begun around the same time, but not published until the year of Franklin's death, 1954; her most "genuine"(?) autobiography, Childhood at Brindabella, likewise published in 1954; and On Dearborn Street, set in Chicago, which did not appear until 1981. In this essay I want to examine these later works in terms of the ways in which they thematise reading.