Joseph Furphy, Jacobean
Most readers of Furphy are familiar with his terse characterization of the full-sized novel he had written (Such is Life in its first form): 'scene, Riverina and northern Vic; temper, democratic; bias, offensively Australian'. The book (in its published form) has been described as an 'affirmation of the Australian way of life', as no doubt it is—one of the Australian ways of life, anyway. It is also scornful about certain aspects of the English way of life. Yet this vigorously, offensively Australian book draws much of its sap from roots that go deep into the English literary past. (The same thing is true, of course, of Furphy's other books too.) In particular, Furphy draws upon Shakespeare and the Authorized Version of the Bible. To assert this is by no means to deny either his originality or his Australianness. On the contrary, no small part of his merit is the originality he shows in turning borrowed literary material to his own uses.
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