Over a period of fifty years in the twentieth century, Australian-born Christina Stead published a short-story volume (many more stories were posthumously collected), eleven novels (one also posthumous), three translations, and a volume of novellas. Her literary career, never at any stage without obstacles, fell into several sections. At first she drew positive responses from publishers and some reviewers, though her works were seen as uninviting and difficult, and never sold well. The Man Who Loved Children seemed to signal a breakthrough into fame, but after this Stead's prickly personality, refusal to compromise, and Communist politics consigned her to outer darkness again. For years she worked at revision (a task she hated) of texts which had been rejected in their first form, only to have them rejected again. Belated recognition involved acknowledgement that the literary world had been exceptionally slow to do her justice.
11 October 1940 CS's probably best-known novel, The Man Who Loved Children, based on her experiences growing up in Sydney, Australia, with her father and his second family of children, was published in New York.