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Your Unselfish Kindness
Robin Hyde's autobiographical writings

Edited by Mary Edmond-Paul

Key Points

• No previous collection of these writings
• Introduction discusses Hyde’s experience of mental illness and the therapies available to her
• Final work arising from Marsden Fund major research project on Hyde

The Book

Robin Hyde’s extraordinary but short life (1906–39) included a precocious early career as poet and parliamentary reporter. As a journalist, she juggled writing for the social pages with highly political reporting on unemployment, prison conditions and the alienation of Maori land. She struggled with drug addiction and depression, single motherhood twice over, and a lengthy period as a voluntary patient in a residential clinic (The Lodge) attached to Auckland Mental Hospital in Avondale. Her life culminated in brilliant reporting on the Sino/Japanese War following a journey into China in 1938.

Hyde also produced several major novels, largely during her time at the Lodge, and several manuscripts of autobiographical writings, some written as part of her therapy. Your Unselfish Kindness gathers these together for the first time. Mary Paul's careful and well-researched introduction looks at the background to these writings, bringing many new insights to the study of New Zealand literature through her discussion of mental illness and therapeutic approaches to it in the 1920s–30s.


1 Introduction
2 1934 Autobiography
3 1934–35 Journal Fragments
4 1935 October Journal Fragment
5 'The Cage with the Open Door' (Oct 1935)
6 1936 Journal Fragment
7 Essay on Mental Health in New Zealand
Notes on the texts


Mary Edmond Paul is the author of Her Side of the Story: Readings of Mander, Mansfield and Hyde, the editor of Lighted Windows: Critical essays on Robin Hyde and co-editor of Gothic New Zealand (with Jennifer Lawn and Misha Kavka). She is a senior lecturer in English and Media Studies at Massey University Albany, in Auckland.

Publication details

NZ Literature/ Mental Health
Paperback with dustcover, 190 x 148 mm, 320 pp, ISBN 978 1 877578 21 2, $40 approx / £27.50 approx. UK