Gabriella T. Espák, Assistant Professor, Institute of English and American Studies, University of Debrecen, has been teaching, researching, and publishing on topics in Australian, Canadian and US social history since 1998, with special interest in issues of multiculturalism, minority rights, and Indigeneity. She has published and edited articles, book chapters and journals in Hungary as well as internationally, in Timisoara, Brno, Torun, Barcelona, Perth, and New Delhi. She earned her Ph.D. in 2003, has served on the executive board of two scholarly societies (Hungarian Society for the Study of English, and European Association for the Study of Australia), and has been a member of American Studies and Canadian Studies associations. She guest-edited ReVisions of Australia: Histories, Images, Identities, a special double issue of HJEAS (2006.1-2). She published Seminal Years: Federal Multicultural Policies and the Politics of Indigeneity in Canada and Australia with Debrecen University Press in 2020, and her current book project addresses the themes of literature, nation, and republic in Australian studies.
Rather than any of her more mature writing, Miles Franklin’s debut romance, My Brilliant Career, has been cemented into the canon of Australian literary nationalism. The novel received ambivalent immediate responses upon its publication in 1901 for its unflattering representation of the author’s kin and society. Subsequent criticism soon accepted Franklin’s oeuvre as part of the dominant male discourse of late nineteenth-century Australia, but after the 1970s her writing came under new scrutiny from a feminist aspect. Recently, she has been placed in a long tradition of female writing and discussed for gendered ventures. Nonetheless, however dedicated a feminist Franklin later became, she did not yet search for women’s greater self-realization in her debut but for her own identity and place in the world as an adolescent. This article argues that although Franklin’s classic has become an icon of both nationalist and feminist literature, the dichotomy of these readings can best be appeased through the adolescent ramps of its protagonist. It is an adolescent novel, in which a growing voice argues with her superiors, peers, and self, thereby exploring her authorial, gendered, and national identity. (GTE)