Frame, Janet

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Frame, Janet

Janet Frame (Janet Paterson Frame Clutha) (klōō´thə), 1924–2004, New Zealand novelist, b. Dunedin. Frame's complex, disturbing novels are marked by startling images and masterful language. Often drawn from her own years of institutionalization in psychiatric hospitals, including her rescue from a scheduled lobotomy (due to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia) after her first book won a local prize, her books depict disturbed and often visionary people living on the edge of madness or death. These themes are especially vivid in her first published work, a book of short stories entitled The Lagoon (1951), and her first two novels, Owls Do Cry (1957) and Faces in the Water (1961).

In all, Frame wrote a total of 13 novels, including The Rainbirds (1968), Intensive Care (1970), Daughter Buffalo (1972), Living in the Maniototo (1979), The Carpathians (1988); a 1963 work, Towards Another Summer, that was not published until 2007; and In the Memorial Room, written in the early 1970s but not published until 2013. Frame's other works include a volume of poems, The Pocket Mirror (1967); the short-story collection The Reservoir and Other Stories (1966); and a children's book. Between My Father and the King (2013) encompasses four decades of her short stories.

See her autobiographical trilogy, To the Is-land (1982), An Angel at My Table (1984), and The Envoy from Mirror City (1985); M. King, Wrestling with the Angel: A Life of Janet Frame (2000) and An Inward Sun: The World of Janet Frame (2002); studies by P. Evans (1977), J. Delbaere, ed. (1992), J. D. Panny (1993, rev. ed. 2002), G. Mercer (1994), M. Delrez (2002), S. Oettli-van Delden (2003), and M. Wikse (2006); biographical film, An Angel at My Table (1990), dir. by J. Campion.

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