Exit Viewer

Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist By Brigitta Olubas ...

Chapter :  Introduction
Read
image Next
Shirley Hazzard:

Introduction

Shirley Hazzard occupies a unique position, even among the significant cohort of expatriate Australian writers, in the way her work has delineated a writerly sensibility that finds its location, as well as its most receptive audience, unconfined by national borders and paradigms. Internationally, she is one of the great writers of movement, passage, transposition, and transit. Her novels trace the fates of young expatriate female protagonists in the geographical and emotional vistas opening up after World War II but before the social upheavals of feminism. They take her readers into moral territory that is at once utterly sure and breached at every turn, where the certainties of romance forms are tested by human vulnerability and the often brutal social and political canvas of modern life. Shirley Hazzard has lived in New York since 1951, taking up US citizenship—in a political rather than a nationalistic gesture—only after the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. Since the early 1960s she has published four novels, The Evening of the Holiday (1966), The Bay of Noon (1970), The Transit of Venus (1980), and The Great Fire (2003); two collections of stories, Cliffs of Fall and Other Stories (1963) and People in Glass Houses (1967); two monographs on the United Nations, Defeat of An Ideal: A Study of the Self-Destruction of the United Nations (1973) and Countenance of Truth: The United Nations and the Waldheim Case (1990); a memoir about her friend Graham Greene, Greene on Capri: A Memoir (2000); and most recently, a collection of her own and her late husband Francis Steegmuller’s occasional writings on Naples, The Ancient Shore: Dispatches From Naples (2008). Hazzard has received major literary awards, including the 2003 US National Book Award, the