Review of A Study of Christopher Brennan's The Forest of Night by A.R. Chisholm; and The Letters of Hugh McCrae selected by Robert D. Fitzgerald
Professor Chisholm's study of 'The Forest of Night', the difficult central sequence of Brennan's Poems (1913), suffers, I think, from an uncertainty of aim. At times it appears to be envisaged as a 'working exegesis' for readers coming to the poem for the first time; yet it also assumes that its readers are acquainted with previous Brennan scholarship, particularly G. A. Wilkes's various studies of the poems. A scholarly study of 'The Forest of Night' would require a much larger book, one that goes more exhaustively into the 'background' sources informing the poems, and the crucial issues of methodology and interpretation which they raise. Professor Chisholm's use of this material is very selective, occasionally misleadingly so. The absence of a more fully developed context tends to weaken the force of some of the close analysis of particular poems, though it is clearly here that the book's main insights are to be found.
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Cite as: Sturm, Terry. ‘Review of A Study of Christopher Brennan's The Forest of Night by A.R. Chisholm; and The Letters of Hugh McCrae selected by Robert D. Fitzgerald.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 5, no. 2, 1971, doi: 10.20314/als.a3e8c800a0.