Person, Persona and Product: Henry Kendall and ‘Steele Rudd’

Arthur Hoey Davis, a diffident twenty-six-year-old clerk, invented 'Steele Rudd' in 1894 as the nom de plume for a rowing column. The pseudonym grew, like the Beanstalk and Pinocchio's nose rolled into one, into a persona over which its author had little control. Davis was empowered, victimised, moderately enriched, cheated and virtually erased by 'Steele Rudd', who was to become, as Richard Fotheringham deftly comments in In Search of Steele Rudd, 'a genre, a broad field of outback humour, from dirty jokes to feature movies and the radio serial Dad and Dave' . Henry Kendall also created a persona, or several; he and his promoters called them Henry Kendall. In Henry Kendall, The Man and the Myths, Michael Ackland uses a different methodology from Fotheringham's, but engages on a similar quest: to explore a complex relationship between person and personae, employing biography not merely to construct a life, but also as literary criticism and as an investigation of cultural significance and production.

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Published 1 May 1996 in Volume 17 No. 3. Subjects: Biographies, Self expression, Self perception.

Cite as: Stewart, Ken A.. ‘Person, Persona and Product: Henry Kendall and ‘Steele Rudd’.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 17, no. 3, 1996. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.8c49f411a8.