A Note on Mary Gilmore’s Uruguayan Anthology

In an earlier article on Gilmore's translations from the Spanish (ALS 18.2, 1997), I wrote that we lacked a title for the avowed source of many of the Latin American poems, the anthology she cited in the Worker as having been sent to her by the Director of Education in Uruguay. The following note is in part a mea culpa for having gone prematurely to press; it is also an example of the difficulties encountered in working on a poet who has left such an extensive and dispersed collection of manuscripts, both autograph and typescript, and who had overseas connections of an unusual kind.

My original statement was based on examination of the four typed booklets of Gilmore's Spanish translations or versions- three in the Mitchell Library and one in MS 727 of the National Library - plus a few isolated typescript copies held elsewhere in MS 727 and in the Hayes Collection at the Fryer Library of the University of Queensland. I had not at that stage properly examined the National Library of Australia's MS 8677, mainly because there was no hint in the catalogue description of the major significance of this particular collection, or of the particular presence of the Spanish translations. It was difficult to know whether to be exasperated or delighted to find that MS 8677 contains, among the Folders of Series 10, two handwritten notebooks which constitute the respective bases of the final selection in Marri'd (1910) and The Passionate Heart (1918). MS 8677 is in fact the sole source of composition dates for many of the poems of the latter collection. And dispersed among these poems are a number of the Spanish translations, a fact which suggests that she did not originally intend treating them as a separate collection.

There were now composition dates which showed the majority of the Latin American translations to be earlier than the Mitchell's putative 1915, twenty-six of them dating from 1913 or 1914. There was also a name for the Uruguayan anthology: El Parnaso Oriental, the adjective deriving from Uruguay's name as the easternmost province of the Spanish dominions in Latin America.

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Published 1 October 1999 in Volume 19 No. 2. Subjects: Translations by Australian writers, Writer's research & sources.

Cite as: Strauss, Jennifer. ‘A Note on Mary Gilmore’s Uruguayan Anthology.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 19, no. 2, 1999, doi: 10.20314/als.cc6187af2b.