"A season in hell": Australian women, modernity and the hustle of New York, 1910-1960 Academic Article uri icon


  • Australian women travelers in early twentieth-century New York often recoiled from the frenetic pace of the city, which surpassed anything encountered in either Britain or Australia. This article employs their travel accounts to lend support to the growing recognition that modernity took different forms throughout the world and to contribute to the project of mapping those differences. I argue that “hustle” was a defining feature of the New York modern, comparatively little evident in Australia, and I propose that the southern continent had developed a model of modern life that privileged pleasure-seeking above productivity. At a deeper level, this line of thinking suggests that modernization should not be conflated with the relentless acceleration of daily life; it thus complicates the ingrained assumption that speed and modernity go hand-in-hand.

publication date

  • 2017

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