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Bush Studies

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  103 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
The most pronounced feature of Jyne's face was her mouth, and it seemed proud of its teeth, especially of the top row. Without any apparent effort, the last tooth there was always visible. She was a great power in the bush, being styled by the folk themselves "Rabbit Ketcher," which, translated, means midwife. And the airs Jyne gave herself were justifiable, for she was th ...more
Published (first published July 20th 1902)
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A set of tales written in the late 1890s on life in the Australian bush. They focus on the harsh and unforgiving lives of various women. Loneliness, isolation, dangers from the elements and danger from men. The writing is a bit mixed - from very good to a bit below par. But overall it is a classic of Australian early literature.
Reading the reviews on this page it is evident that ‘Bush Studies’ suffers somewhat from the curse of being a set text, perhaps even a weapon in a literary studies debate – a female alternative to the very male world of Australian bush writing, as exemplified by Henry Lawson.

It certainly fulfils this role well – it seems that Baynton herself saw the book partly in those terms - but it would be a shame if this detracted from its intrinsic worth. I think the book is best described by its title. I
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First published in 1902, Bush Studies is a collection of short stories set in the Australian outback of her day. While the stories certainly convey the harsh conditions, I felt that Baynton made scathing commentary on the harsh, crude and vulgar behaviour particularly of the men, and particularly toward women.

I found Scrammy ‘And and The Chosen Vessel to be especially compelling, and if I taught high-school literature would want to include them in my curriculum, regardless of where I was teachin
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Apart from A Dreamer and The Chosen Vessel I found the stories quite hard to get into and slow moving. When the description of the outback is good it is really good with lots of lively imagery, but Baynton got a little bit carried away in places, both with that and the use of commas.
Timons Esaias
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mention in McSweeney's got me to find a copy of Bush Studies, a founding classic of Australian Literature, though I'd probably heard it mentioned once or twice in my life. I'm glad I followed up, because, while these stories are a form of torture, I am historically interested in fiction of this period. And I'm glad because these are strong pieces.

Poe was one of her admitted influences, and that's clear; but these aren't supernatural stories. The ominousness and approach reminds me of Stephen C
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm struggling to decide what I think. On the one hand, it's a collection of stories that show the impact the bush can have on different types of people; on the other, it's a testament to the lucky few who really learn what the bush is and means. Overall, it's a fairly black collection of tales in which women and nature seem to do battle and men just get in the way.
Huh. These were fascinating: mostly character studies of fragile people living in poverty and isolation. Most were women, but one study concerned an elderly man awaiting the return of the young couple who lived with or near him - his ruminations on the younger man's betrayal of him by taking a wife interwoven with and marked unreliable by his acute fear of the stranger he expected to soon assault him. I was least interested by a study of a rural preacher, and by one of a city woman travelling to ...more
Book Bazaar
The stories in this collection are quite uneven. All deal with the hardships of living in the Australian bush during the 1800's but some stories are wonderful and others difficult to read.

The collection is worth picking up just for the first and last stories. They are atmospheric, beautifully evoked stories that have you gripped from the very beginning.

Perhaps you should skip a few of the ones in the middle though - by trying to capture the dialogue and sound of the characters, much of the dialo
This book of short stories has been sitting on my shelf for some years now. Introductions are peculiar things, sometimes I enjoy them and sometimes not. This one I found to be too long and didn't finish it because it was giving too much away.
I read the first two stories and found them hauntingly realistic but I couldn't manage to get into the others. I started each one and struggled either due to the written form of spoken language or lack of interest. I feel it was more a question of timing, I
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adventure
Memorable Quotes
"...her heart gave a bound of savage rapture in thus giving the sweat of her body for the sin of her soul."

"The daughter parted the curtains, and the light fell on the face of the sleeper who would dream no dreams that night."

“Ned, moreover, had tried to force his example on the male community by impressing upon them his philosophy, that it was the proper thing to hit a woman every time you met her, since she must either be coming from mischief or going to it.”
Sep 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 09review
This book was provided for review by Sydney University Press, and I read it for the Classics Challenge. Published in 1902, it presents a feminist perspective about 19th century Australian bush life and although aspects of it are a bit quaint, it's interesting to read. To see my review, see
Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers
Heather Browning
Quite bleak and creepy stories, she manages to build up suspense without dramatics. The overlying theme of Australia's bleak bushland and the lack of hope in the people is strong. Some humour in the presentation of some typical 'bush characters'
Text Publishing
‘So precise, so complete, with such insight into detail and such force of statement, it ranks with the masterpieces of realism in any language.’
Blue Hole
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
gruff unsympathetic stories about seedy drunkards and hard-faced desert louts (Australians)
Some of the stories were a little hard to get into, especially when characters started talking all 'straya like. That said, others were quite good, so it balanced out. A grim, creepy collection.
Apr 27, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Chosen Vessel and A dreamer the most out of the short stories. Baynton writes in a very blunt and eyeopening way.
Very interesting perspective of males and females in Australia.
Belinda G
The final story was by far the best, but overall I'm incredibly disappointed in this collection.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've only read The Chosen Vessel, but I have to say I REALLY liked it, the intertextuality of the work and all the symbolysm. Baynton was truly a master in her time.
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading for lovers of Australian literature. The Chosen Vessel is one of the greatest bush stories ever told. Makes Henry Lawson look pedestrian.
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