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Plume Of Bees: a Literary Biography of C. K. Stead considers the temperament Stead brings to his art, and, conversely, the idiosyncrasies and preoccupations that are revealed through his work. The inquiry begins with an account of his childhood to seek situations or influences that may have contributed to his talent and ambition. As Plume of Bees develops, it focuses on reasons for the extremes of Stead's reputation, and for the fact that his reception in Britain often differs from that in New Zealand. Relying mainly on resources in the public arena - Stead's many publications, talks, lectures and radio interviews, and his letters to Sargeson and Curnow lodged in the Alexander Turnbull Library - Judith Dell Panny's work shows a commitment to impartiality and probity.
Dr Judith Dell Panny is an honorary research fellow, School of English and Media Studies, Massey University. Her publications include I Have What I Gave: The Fiction of Janet Frame; Turning the Eye: Patricia Grace and the Short Story; The Culture Within: Essays on Ihimaera, Grace, Hulme and Tuwhare; Unfurling: Poems by Judith Dell Panny; John Bevan Ford: Paintings. Dr Panny has taught New Zealand literature at tertiary institutions in New Zealand and at two German universities. She was a guest professor at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel. Retired from teaching, she lives with her husband Rolf in Ashhurst, Manawatu, and is the mother of an adult son and daughter. She received a CLL Award (Copyright Licensing) to research and write Plume of Bees.