Brunton Stephens as Literary Critic
JAMES Brunton Stephens (1835-1902) is mainly and correctly remembered as a poet; as a name his lustre in Australian literature is somewhat dulled by the brighter (even if more garish) light shed by A. G. Stephens. This has always seemed to me unfortunate since A. G. was primarily a critic, catalyst and literary editor—and this is not to decry his magnificent work in encouraging writing and writers in his position on the Bulletin where he was so fortunate in having a job that might well have been tailored for him. Brunton Stephens was a much more talented creative writer, but far less well-placed in the bread-and-butter work he was fated to do; indeed I suppose there is no other creative writer in our literature who in his prime was as suddenly put in a situation (with the best intentions by those concerned) where his flow of inspiration was so rudely cut off.
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