‘Damned Scamp’: Marcus Clarke or James Erskine Calder?


James Erskine Calder's brief correspondence with Sir George Grey, noticed by Bruce Ncsbitt in an earlier issue of Australian Literary Studies, consists of half a dozen letters from Calder to Grey during 1881 and 1882 (14 July, 3 October, 18 October, 27 November, 1881; 5 January, 7 February, 1882). Calder had lately retired as Surveyor-General of Tasmania and had, during several years before his correspondence with Grey began, published narrative accounts of incidents from early Tasmanian history. Whether he ever met Marcus Clarke is not clear, but that he entertained no very friendly feelings for that writer is made evident in the text of the letters, where (as Bruce Nesbitt has observed) in the letter of 27 November 1881, Clarke is charged with 'pirating . . . from articles first contributed to the public by me.'

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Published 1 October 1974 in Volume 6 No. 4. Subjects: Correspondence, Literary influences, Plagiarism, Writer's research & sources, Marcus Clarke.

Cite as: Poole, Joan. ‘‘Damned Scamp’: Marcus Clarke or James Erskine Calder?.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 6, no. 4, 1974, doi: 10.20314/als.7bfac05b25.