Review of An Unsentimental Bloke: The Life and Works of C.J. Dennis, by Philip Butterss
We live in grand times for revisiting and interrogating the silences and evasions in many memoirs and authorised biographies of late nineteenth and early twentieth century writers and artists published during their subjects' lives or within a generation of their demise. Perhaps the desire to know much more about such lives gained impetus around the time of the Australian bicentennial and through the flourishing of biographies that appeared in the following fifteen years: lives of Louise Mack, Christina Stead, Hal Porter, Patrick White and others, even while the stories of many lives remained incomplete until the demise of certain protective heirs and statutes of limitation. Are we, if not hypocritical lecteurs, at least hypocritical voyeurs, to want to know more while simultaneously upholding the virtue of appearing uninterested in all but the text of their prose and verse?
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