Book cover image for: Unsettled Spirit: The Life and Frontier Fiction of Edith Lyttleton (G.B. Lancaster) 1873-1945

An Unsettled Spirit: The Life and Frontier Fiction of Edith Lyttleton (G.B. Lancaster) 1873-1945

Edited by Terry Sturm

$39.95 CAD / $45.95 USD (S)

320 pages, 82 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-128-1 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-471-8 (Institutional PDF)

September 2003

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About the Book

Edith Lyttleton, writing under the name G.B. Lancaster, wrote over a dozen stories novels and more than two hundred short stories. This is a fascinating account of her life, and of the challenges she overcame to achieve a brilliant writing career.

Under the name of G.B. Lancaster, Edith Lyttleton wrote over a dozen novels and some 250 short stories, mostly narratives of romance and adventure set in the remote back country of New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. She was New Zealand’s most widely read author overseas in the first half of the twentieth century, reaching millions of readers.

Writing first from her family’s Canterbury sheep station, in the face of fierce parental opposition, she later travelled widely, researching her stories in the Yukon, Nova Scotia, and Tasmania. This book is a fascinating account of the harsh experience of a gifted woman writer forced to earn her own living but struggling to move beyond the limits of potboilers to more serious work.

About the Editor

Terry Sturm is a Professor of English at the University of Auckland who has published widely on New Zealand and Australian Literature. He is the General Editor of The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature.

Praise for An Unsettled Spirit

Sturm has done a wonderful job. This book is packed full of detail about Edith Lyttleton, who wrote under the pen name G B Lancaster. Her family, her truly appalling mother . . . her brilliant career as an author, her travels and her publishing history. It is also a wonderful gender history and work of book history.

—Lydia Wevers, NZ Books

Table of Contents


Part One: Beginnings, Tasmania, and New Zealand, 1873–1909

One: Forebears
Two: Life at Rokeby
Three: The Emergence of the Writer
Four: The Early Fiction

Part Two: The Middle Years, London 1909-25

Five: Starting Again—London via Canada, 1909–13
Six: Literary London, 1910–14—Makeweight Years in the Magazine Market
Seven: The War Years, 1914–1917
Eight: London (and Canada), 1919–25—Professionalism and its Discontents

Part Three: The Later Years, Wandering 1926–45

Nine: Starting Again, 1926–32
Ten: Pageant ant its Publishers, 1933
Eleven: Return to New Zealand and Australia, 1933–38
Twelve: Nova Scotia, Norway and England, 1938–45
Thirteen: Last Words—Grand Parade, 1943
Fourteen: Last Months