Jack Lindsay, P.R. Stephensen and the Publication of D.H. Lawrence’s Paintings

In his perceptive review1 of Jack Lindsay's Decay and Renewal and Noel Macainsh's Nietzsche in Australia, Brian Kiernan refers in passing to the dispute between Lindsay and P. R. Stephensen over the publication of D. H. Lawrence's Paintings. A letter from Lawrence to Lindsay which has recently come to light confirms Lindsay's version of the story. The dispute arose following the appearance of Stcphcnsen's Kookaburras andSatyrs in which he claimed the sole credit for publishing Lawrence's paintings. In a review of Stephensen's Fanfrolico reminiscences, originally intended for Southerly but not published until 1959 in Biblionews, Jack Lindsay claimed the initiative for the project. He stated that the Fanfrolico Press considered producing a book of Lawrence's paintings, but declined due to the fear of police prosecution coupled with the differences between Lawrence's ideas and the Fanfrolico aesthetic, and 'the reason why he [Stephensen] published the paintings in the Mandrake Press was because our relations had at that time reached breaking point, and to give him a new start I handed over the book to him . . . .'

In a rejoinder Stephensen repeated his version in somewhat stronger terms saying that Lawrence 'would never have consented to the publication of any of his works in the Lindsay dominated Fanfrolico Press . . . .' A reply'' by Lindsay never appeared in print but he restated his case in the third volume of his autobiography and again in Decay and Renewal. Macainsh's recent monograph accepts Stephensen's account without question.

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Published 1 October 1979 in Volume 9 No. 2. Subjects: Correspondence, Paintings, D. H. Lawrence.

Cite as: Arnold, John. ‘Jack Lindsay, P.R. Stephensen and the Publication of D.H. Lawrence’s Paintings.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 9, no. 2, 1979, doi: 10.20314/als.a671539cb8.