Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Discussion of any bush poetry topic.
ONLY Registered Forum Members have access to this Forum.
Heather

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Heather » Wed May 18, 2016 7:20 pm

Vic, do you know of a biography about Mary Gilmore?

I'd love to hear more about your family's associationg with Mary Gilmore, Wendy if you have any stories to tell.

Vic Jefferies
Posts: 1041
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:21 am

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Vic Jefferies » Wed May 18, 2016 8:53 pm

Heather there is a wealth of material regarding Mary Gilmore on the internet most particularly at the Australian Dictionary of Biography which has source material noted.
She was an extremely interesting and active woman throughout her life and someone we should all know more about.
If she was an American they would have made several movies of her life by now and she would be world famous.
That being said I found her poetry "patchy" but I also consider some of her work unique and very worthwhile.
Unfortunately I don't have my copy of her collected work with me.

Heather

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Heather » Wed May 18, 2016 9:20 pm

Thanks Vic. I'll have to have a look when i get my computer fixed. I'm currently reading Henry Lawson's biography notes in Complete Works which is fascinating, amusing, insightful and delightful.

Heather :)

Vic Jefferies
Posts: 1041
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:21 am

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Vic Jefferies » Thu May 19, 2016 10:18 am

Heather, the story of Henry Lawson is indeed very interesting, however the problem now is that there has been so much written about him by so many different people that there is a great deal of contradictory and confusing information available.
I have been reading various accounts of his life for many years but now feel that I have to go back and start again and be a little more selective about the work I rely upon.
I am afraid the myth is in danger of becoming the reality.
I think perhaps Professor Colin Roderick's extensive writings about Henry and his work might be the key.

User avatar
Stephen Whiteside
Posts: 3783
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:07 pm
Contact:

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Thu May 19, 2016 11:46 am

Are you aware of misinformation from Prout, Vic?
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
http://www.stephenwhiteside.com.au

Heather

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Heather » Thu May 19, 2016 12:37 pm

Vic, i have read Colin Roderick's "Henry Lawson A Life" but feel I would like to read it again now. I was lucky enough to pick up a copy at an op shop several years ago.

What i am reading now are Henry Lawson's own words in the double volume "Henry Lawson Complete Works" which is a huge double volume of his poems, prose, manuscripts etc The first volume (1885- 1900) has a short and incomplete autobiography (written by Henry) at the beginning of the book. It mostly covers his early childhood, his time working at the coachworks and as a house painter and when he was working on the newspapers. There is a short bit added about his father's death. He talks about his shyness (particularly with women), his deafness, the misery of his childhood and early adulthood, his insecurities and fears and how tough it was to survive. It also shows what a tough and impoverished life he led. It was obviously written many years later as he connects the people in his life to characters in his poems written many years later. He can't remember a lot, but in other places remembers things in great detail (or thinks he does) and interestingly, most of it is about his early childhood, so either he remembers it more, or he simply didn't write anything about his later life. It is beautiful to read and quite funny in places but is quite possibly not accurate due to the time between the events and writing. It still gives you some insight into what Henry was thinking and feeling and how he feels about himself, which a biography, written by someone else cannot do. One thing i found interesting is that Faces in the Street is one of his early poems (1888) and follows some of his less memorable socialist/political poems which i really don't like at all. He sees himself as one of those faces in the street. It has much more feeling and believablity than the earlier political poems which are jingoistic and poorly constructed with very awful meter. (We all had to start somewhere, even Henry Lawson).

Heather :)

User avatar
Wendy Seddon
Posts: 437
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:20 pm
Location: Medowie NSW

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Wendy Seddon » Thu May 19, 2016 3:16 pm

Heather, I've got a copy of 'Old Days Old Ways' by Mary Gilmore which are her recollections of her childhood.
Mary often wore cameo brooches at her throat, of which I have one given to me by my grandfather.

She and my great grandmother Ada were student teachers together and remained good friends.
Ada often visited Mary at 'The Cross' which became a family joke.
I'll have to ask my dad for more stories.
"All appears to change when we change." - Henri-Frederic Amiel

Heather

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Heather » Thu May 19, 2016 4:02 pm

Oh wow Wendy! You are so lucky! What an amazing piece of history to own. I was given a silver brooch a few years ago that belonged to one of the earliest residents of Kilmore and i treasure it.

If your father has more stories you should record them if possible before they are lost to time.


Heather :)

Vic Jefferies
Posts: 1041
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:21 am

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Vic Jefferies » Thu May 19, 2016 4:56 pm

Heather, I have read the books you speak of (HL's Complete Works) and you are absolutely right in that they do contain much direct information. Just a word of warning though Henry was notorious for not letting the facts get in the way of a good story (witness his claim to having gypsy blood!)
Roderick has written a number of books on Lawson and the one that I have at the moment is Henry Lawson The Master Story Teller, commentaries on his prose writings. A bit of a hard slog but it contains much information which seems to be authentic and well researched.
There is of course a similar double set of Banjo's work and they are remarkable books which contain a great deal of historical information as well as much information re Banjo himself. They are very readable and if you don't have them I thoroughly recommend you pick up a set in your local second hand bookshop. They seem to be everywhere at the moment.
It is indeed a small world we have John O'Brien's (father Patrick Hartigan) nephew in the Gosford Bush Poets; a lady I used to know on the central coast had a brief case given to her by her aunt which belonged to Will Ogilvie and my late backyard neighbour met both John O'Brien and CJ Dennis when he was a little boy.

Neville Briggs
Posts: 6867
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:08 pm
Location: Here

Re: Henry Lawson...myth and reality

Post by Neville Briggs » Thu May 19, 2016 5:44 pm

dame mary gilmore.jpg
William Dobell did this celebrated portrait of Dame Mary Gilmore. As you can see very mannerist, and she seems to have an aristocratic bearing rather than a socialist air.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Neville
Singleton Bush Poets.

Post Reply