“Manufactured By The Sun”: Eve Langley’s The Pea-Pickers on The Move


  • Nicholas Birns Eugene Lang College




Transgender, Rural Fiction, Iminality, Mobility, Modernism


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.  

Biografia do Autor

Nicholas Birns, Eugene Lang College

Nicholas Birns is Associate Professor of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College, the New School, where he teaches courses on post-1900 American and British fiction, literary theory, Shakespeare, and the history of literary genres and traditions. Nicholas Birns graduated from Columbia College in 1988, and received his Ph.D. from New York University in 1992.