Franklin, Sarah Miles

Miles Franklin

(Stella Marie) Sarah Miles Franklin (1879-1954), an Australian born writer was the oldest of seven children and began writing at a young age. Her best-known novel, My Brilliant Career tells about a teenage girl growing up in Australia who cannot wait to break free as her own person; she finished writing it at only 18 years old. Although Australian publishers rejected it, it was published in Britain in 1901 under the penname Miles Franklin.

She soon met and became close with members of the feminist movement and in 1906 she moved to the United States to work with the National Women’s Trade Union League of America, but was back in Europe by 1915. Franklin worked various jobs, as a nurse and at an important social society. In 1927 she went back home to see her family.

While in the U.S. she had written a number of drafts for later works, one of which was published in 1928, Up the Country, and it could not have come at a better time. She and her family were struggling financially, as they were most of their lives, despite her literary successes. This book, and her next six were published under another alias, ‘Brent of Bin Bin’. As with Miles Franklin, she wanted to keep her gender a secret from the public so she would be taken more seriously; her friend had “outed” her as a woman in the introduction of My Brilliant Career. She won two Prior Memorial Prizes for her writing, one for the work, All That Swagger.

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Sarah Miles Franklin

Sarah Miles Franklin Quotes

“Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings.”

“I studied him attentively all the while. What were his ideas and sentiments it were hard to tell: he never expressed any. He was fearfully and wonderfully quiet. Yet his was an intelligent silence, not of that wooden brainless description which casts a damper on any company, neither was it of the remorse or dreaming order.” (My Brillant Career, 1901)

“It seems so obvious to say the social world and the academic world are linked.”

“It’s a sign of your own worth sometimes if you are hated by the right people.”

“Our greatest heart-treasure is a knowledge that there is in creation an individual to whom our existence is necessary – some one who is part of our life as we are part of theirs, some one in whose life we feel assured our death would leave a gap for a day or two.” (My Brillant Career, 1901)

“…No one would dream of calling you plain, let alone ugly; brilliant is the word that best describes you.” (My Brillant Career, 1901)

“I sat long by my writing table that night-thinking long, long thoughts, foolish thoughts, sad ones, merry ones, old headed thoughts, and the sweet sweet thoughts of youth and love. It seemd to me that men were not so invincible and invulnerable as I had imagined them-it appeared they had feeling and affections after all.” (My Brillant Career, 1901)

“When all is said and done, friendship is the only trustworthy fabric of the affections. So-called love is a delirious inhuman state of mind: when hot it substitutes indulgence for fair play; when cold it is cruel, but friendship is warmth in cold, firm ground in a bog.”


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