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y separately published work icon The Pea Pickers single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1942... 1942 The Pea Pickers
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In The Pea Pickers, a novel based on Eve Langley's own experiences, Steve and Blue are two girls who, dressed as men, are taken on as itinerant workers for the farmers of Gippsland. They pack apples and pick peas. But their disguise is partial - and their quest is for love. For Blue the novel ends in marriage; but not for Steve. For her, desire is never straightforward, and love - for men, for women, for country - leaves her confused, but independent. ' (Publication summary)



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Alternative title: Not Yet the Moon

Works about this Work

“Manufactured By The Sun” : Eve Langley’s The Pea-Pickers on The Move Nicholas Birns , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ilha Do Desterro : A Journal of English Language , vol. 69 no. 2 2016;
'Eve Langley’s The Pea-Pickers is often seem as a quaint artifact of a now-vanished Australia. This paper seeks to rescue the contemporary relevance of this novel of two young women who go into the rural areas of Gippsland to pick peas, showing its pioneering attention to transgender concerns, the polyphonic panoply of its style and soundscape,. and its portrayal of a settler culture not anchored in a perilous identity but dynamically on the move. As so often in settler colony literature, though, rigidities on the issue of race—particularly the portrayal of the Muslim migrant Akbarah Khan—mar the canvas, and make Langley’s novel as emblematic of the constitutive problems of Australian literary history as of its artistic achievements. Just as Langley’s gender variance and personal nonconformity made her an outlier in the Austrlaia and New Zealand she lived in, so is her contribution to Australian literature an unfinished project. ' (Publication abstract)
The Pea-Pickers : An Introduction Lucy Treep , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Westerly , vol. 60 no. 2 2015; (p. 106-113)
Outsider Architecture : The Literary Constructions of Eve Langley 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 13 no. 2 2013;

'Outsider architecture references a continuum of unofficial constructions, from the tenuous envelope of found materials that a homeless person folds about themselves nightly, to the compellingly precarious sculptural artefact, painstakingly but illegally built, in a front garden or on public land. One way that the homeless deal with their vulnerability to harsh weather, psychological disturbance and lack of privacy is the construction of ad hoc shelters from found objects and recycled rubbish. These shelters represent one form of outsider architecture. Roger Cardinal notes that another form is the idiosyncratic construction of sculptural assemblages, also, typically from recycled materials, to form architectural structures, modified dwellings, landscaped areas, collections, monuments and shrines that seem to pop up in most cities, or anywhere there are people (169). All over the world, homeless people seek to provide at least temporary shelter for themselves, and at the same time, a certain number of people, sometimes the same people, engage in personal projects of construction in which the expression of individuality is as, if not more, important than physical containment or shelter.

'This article will consider the work of one author, Eve Langley, as a form of outsider architecture and will suggest that the physical entity formed by Langley’s novels, as a manifestation of outsider architecture, provided their author with the hope of psychic shelter when she wrote them. Langley wrote at a time in which it was difficult for a woman to succeed as an artist, or to support herself financially. As well, she experienced a dysfunctional marriage and suffered from uncertain health. Despite these difficult conditions, she wrote compulsively, sending manuscripts, one after another to her publishers, long after they had stopped publishing her work.

'Yet, the large body of unpublished manuscripts in the Mitchell speaks of more than the mental ill health that is frequently associated with Langley. Consideration of the debates active within the literary community of New Zealand at the time Langley was writing, and the nature and content of, in particular, her novelistic oeuvre, suggests that Langley may have been writing at least partly in response to local literary voices. Despite her peripatetic lifestyle and solipsistic tendencies, Langley was part of the community of writers living in New Zealand in the mid-twentieth century. Her writing was supported and criticised by it, and undoubtedly shaped by it. This article will consider the part this community played in Langley’s writing, the dual aspects of vulnerability and strength, feelings of alienation and centrality, exhibited in Langley’s authorial choices. By examining Langley’s body of work through the lens of outsider architecture, Langley’s prolific literary output in the face of a largely negative reception may be seen, not so much as the sign of a loss of control, but as a strategic, if eccentric, construction of an authorial presence.' (Author's abstract)

Invisible, Unacknowledged, but Ubiquitous : Nan McDonald Joins Angus & Robertson Louise Poland , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Telling Stories : Australian Life and Literature 1935–2012 2013; (p. 77-83)
[Essay] : The Pea-pickers Lucy Treep , 2013 single work essay
— Appears in: Reading Australia 2013;

'Eve Langley’s first novel, The Pea-pickers (1942), has surprised and delighted readers since it was written. Douglas Stewart praised it as ‘the most original contribution to Australian literature since Tom Collins wrote Such is Life’ (31), and Norman Lindsay described it as ‘a book that will live’ (2). Before publication the manuscript shared the Bulletin’s S. H. Prior Memorial Prize in 1940, with The Battlers by Kylie Tenant and the ‘John Murtagh Macrossan lectures’ by Malcolm Henry Ellis. On reading the manuscript Frank Dalby Davison wrote, ‘It has the dew on it … It contributes something fresh to Australian literature. It is rare. I think it will be cherished’ (2). The predictions of Davison and his colleagues have proven to be accurate: twenty-first century readers still find this engaging novel ‘fresh’ and ‘original’, and enjoy the protagonist’s theatrical flouting of social conventions. Langley skilfully weaves together many strands in her vibrant text, and perhaps most successful is the humour that frequently pervades the narrative. This humour is often at the expense of the narrator, though rapid shifts in perspective and the wit and vigour of her voice urge the reader to laugh with Steve at the same time as we laugh at her.' (Introduction)

A Tract of Life C. J. Burns , 1989 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , October no. 115 1989; (p. 5-6)

— Review of Nettie Palmer : Her Private Journal Fourteen Years, Poems, Reviews and Literary Essays Nettie Palmer , 1988 selected work poetry prose criticism review autobiography biography ; The Pea Pickers Eve Langley , 1942 single work novel ; White Topee Eve Langley , 1954 single work novel ; But Not for Love : Stories of Marjorie Barnard and M. Barnard Eldershaw M. Barnard Eldershaw , Marjorie Barnard , 1988 selected work short story
The Backward Glance Brian Elliott , 1966 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May vol. 5 no. 7 1966; (p. 134-135)

— Review of My Brilliant Career Miles Franklin , 1901 single work novel ; The Pea Pickers Eve Langley , 1942 single work novel ; The Long Prospect Elizabeth Harrower , 1958 single work novel ; Bush Studies Barbara Baynton , 1902 selected work short story
Worthwhile Sortie into Literary Past Mark Thomas , 1991 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 24 November 1991; (p. 21)

— Review of Landtakers : The Story of an Epoch Brian Penton , 1934 single work novel ; The Salzburg Tales Christina Stead , 1934 selected work short story ; The Pea Pickers Eve Langley , 1942 single work novel ; The Watch Tower Elizabeth Harrower , 1966 single work novel ; Disturbing Element Xavier Herbert , 1963 single work autobiography
Letter to Shakspeare Douglas Stewart , 1942 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 6 May vol. 63 no. 3247 1942; (p. 3)

— Review of The Pea Pickers Eve Langley , 1942 single work novel
The Pea Pickers Norman Lindsay , 1942 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 3 June vol. 63 no. 3251 1942; (p. 2)

— Review of The Pea Pickers Eve Langley , 1942 single work novel
Can You Better This Book List? 1945 single work column
— Appears in: Book News , August no. [1] 1945; (p. 3)
The Centaur and the Cyborg : Abject Becoming on the Colonial Frontier Elizabeth McMahon , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 67 no. 1-2 2007; (p. 211-225)
The Pea-Pickers : Eve Langley (1904-1974) Jane Gleeson-White , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Classics : Fifty Great Writers and Their Celebrated Works 2007; (p. 154-158)
y separately published work icon The Pea-Pickers by Eve Langley Joan Maxwell , Pymble : HarperCollins , 2001 Z1612087 2001 single work criticism
Assimilation, Unspeakable Traces and the Ontologies of Nation Joseph Pugliese , 1995 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meridian , October vol. 14 no. 2 1995; (p. 229-254)
Last amended 30 Jan 2017 10:10:47