Review of Charles Harpur, An Australian by J. Normington Rawling
J. Normington-Rawling's biography of our first poet appears at a time when there is a real need for biographies and critical editions of the main Australian writers, since Australian Literature has now ceased to be either an Aunt Sally or the Jingo's totem-pole and has become a respectable subject for academic study. There are reliable bibliographies and trustworthy texts for very few Australian writers and hardly any biographies that students of the subject would find even adequate. Mr Normington-Rawling's account of Harpur leaves something to be desired as did Dr Elliott's study of Marcus Clarke. The first suffers from amateurism as the second suffered from professionalism, but at least each gives a full and adequate account for the critic of the writer's work who wants to know about the man; and each is able to give a plausible picture of the character and personality of his subject.
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