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My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

My Brilliant Career (1901)

by Miles Franklin

Other authors: Henry Lawson (Preface)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sybylla Melvyn duology (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9942913,787 (3.76)161
"I am given to something which a man never pardons in a woman. You will draw away as though I were a snake when you hear." With this warning, Sybylla confesses to her rich and handsome suitor that she is given to writing stories and bound, therefore, on a brilliant career. In this ironically titled and exuberant novel by Miles Franklin, originally published in 1901, Sybylla tells the story of growing up passionate and rebellious in rural New South Wales, where the most that girls could hope for was to marry or to teach. Sybylla will do neither, but that doesn't stop her from falling in love, and it doesn't make the choices any easier.… (more)
Recently added byYgraine, private library, susanursel, AnthonyBlack, rena75, rafinc
  1. 10
    Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin may be paired with Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy or even Lilian's Story by Kate Grenville. All three novels have strong central female characters that all struggle with the expression of freedom.
  2. 10
    Consequences by E. M. Delafield (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Although the two books have a very different setting and style, they are both semi-autobiographical novels about a young woman struggling to cope with the restrictions placed on her by the society of the time. As a result, neither are easy or happy reads but both are compelling and very interesting.… (more)
  3. 00
    The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence (shaunie)

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» See also 161 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
A classic of Australian literature yet, written by a 16-year-old focusing on autobiography, not actually an amazing read. Important without being brilliant, this is nevertheless something to put on the bucket list. ( )
  therebelprince | Dec 14, 2019 |
I loved the book despite wanting to shake Sybylla at times! Franklin did a masterful job of evoking atmosphere. It was so easy to get lost in the book. Sybylla was one of the most complex characters I've ever read from that period. There was nothing cliche with the plot or the characters and I was left to wonder what direction the novel would take through the very last page. The only downside was that the main character was so down on herself for being "ugly." But the dichotomy of that brutal self-appraisal and the fierce pride and independence of spirit placed her among the most interesting and memorable female characters that I've ever had the pleasure to meet. ( )
  AliceAnna | Sep 7, 2019 |
Written at the end of the 19th century, Sybylla is a sixteen year old girl who struggles to be happy with the drudgery of her family home. She loves Australia and is proud to be a hard working Australian peasant but also craves culture. She feels the constraints of being a woman very strongly. Her life and the novel is transformed when she goes to Caddagat to stay with her grandmother and aunt and uncle. It is here that she flourishes. She meets the rich, tall and handsome Harry Beecham but constantly concerns herself with her own small size and what she considers her lack of beauty. Sybylla has dreams to be an author and sees marriage as a cage she does not wish to enter. The section when Sybylla is sent to the M'Swat family to teach the children is entertaining and horrifying. She is horrified by the grime that the family live in, despite having money, but most of all she is frustrated at the boredom of their lives, with nothing to read, a piano that they see no point in tuning and only visits from working men. Her breakdown was only a matter of time. The ending is interesting and readers might be willing her to make a different decision. This is an interesting novel because of the time it was written and the way of life and landscapes that it depicts. ( )
  Tifi | Nov 11, 2018 |
A classic of Australian literature yet, written by a 16-year-old focusing on autobiography, not actually an amazing read. Important without being brilliant, this is nevertheless something to put on the bucket list. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Why do movies insist on a happy ending? Thankfully the book does not need to do so. I felt this was a combination of YA fiction, period drama, Australiana, and tragedy all in one. There are numerous references to Australiana that I must now investigate, and it was pleasant to read about fictitious towns based around Goulburn (which is 25 minutes up the Hume from where I now live. I am glad to have read this book, and Miles Franklin (albeit her pen name!) is surely one of Australia's great authors. While the who have seen the movie first (like me) will have had their imagination compromised, reading the book is still a worthy pursuit. ( )
  madepercy | Nov 7, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miles Franklinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lawson, HenryPrefacesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aiken, JoanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Callil, CarmenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cardeñoso Sáenz de Miera, ConchaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Diéguez, AmadoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Sandra M.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lhermillier, NellyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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First words
Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin was born on October 14 1879.

New introduction, by Carmen Callil, 1980.
A few months before I left Australia I got a letter from the bush signed "Miles Franklin", saying that the writer had written a novel, but knew nothing of editors and publishers, and asking me to read and advise.

Preface, by Henry Lawson, 1901.
Possum Gully, near Goulburn,
N.S. Wales, Australia, 1st March, 1899

Just a few lines to tell you that this story is all about myself - for no other purpose do I write it.

My dear fellow Australians, Just a few lines to tell you that this story is all about myself - for no other purpose do I write it.

Chapter one.
A woman is but the helpless tool of man - a creature of circumstances.
Weariness! Weariness!
It is worth being poor once or twice in a lifetime just to experience the blessing and heartrestfulness of a little genuine reality in the way of love and friendship.
Grils! Girls! Those of you who have hearts, and therefore a wish for happiness, homes, and husbands by and by, never develop a reputation of being clever. It will put you out of the matrimonial running a effectually as though it had been circulated that you had leprosy.
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From the book cover:
"First published in 1901, this Australian classic recounts the live of 16-year-old Sybylla Melvyn. Trapped on her parents' outback farm, she simultaneously loves bush life and hates the physical burdens it imposes. For Sybylla longs for a more refined, aesthetic lifestyle - to read, to think, to sing - but most of all to do great things. Suddenly her life is transformed. Whisked away to live on her grandmother's gracious property, she falls under the eye of the rich and handsome Harry Beecham and soon she finds herself choosing between everything a conventional life offers and her own plans for a 'brilliant career'."

 This book is in public domain in the USA and the e-book is available free online. he same book there.
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Average: (3.76)
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2 10
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0143105051, 1921922192

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