Academic journal article Hecate

Dorothy Hewett: Two Early Essays; Note to the Dorothy Hewett Essays

Academic journal article Hecate

Dorothy Hewett: Two Early Essays; Note to the Dorothy Hewett Essays

Article excerpt

Dorothy Hewett: Two Early Essays; Note to the Dorothy Hewett Essays

It is not well enough acknowledged that Dorothy Hewett was for a long period in her life a Marxist literary critic and theorist. Along with writers like Frank Hardy and other members of the Realist Writers' movement, she engaged in debates about literatures and social change from a committed Marxist perspective throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

These two previously unpublished essays were written by Hewett in the mid-1960s prior to her leaving the Communist Party. "Eat Bread and Salt and Speak the Truth" was submitted for publication in Realist Writer. "The Times they are a `Changin'" is probably the text of a paper delivered at a Realist Writer internal discussion group. I found them among the papers kindly shown to me by long-time Realist Writer editor, Ray Verrills. Both suggest Hewett's willingness to stay in the Marxist fold and argue things out with the factional enemies, yet they also hint at the inevitability of her split with the Communist Party. The essays reinforce an argument that I believe gets too little airplay; Dorothy Hewett left the Communist Party of Australia because of her being a Marxist. The CPA was not Marxist enough for Hewett, and this was revealed to her in its attitude towards cultural matters. Usually the narratives of individuals leaving the CPA are seen as metonymic of the fading power of Marxist ideas rather than as stories of individuals acting out of frustration with a Party that was Marxist in name only. …

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