Review of Henry Kendall: Poetry, Prose and Selected Correspondence ed. Michael Ackland, and Henry Kendall--The Muse of Australia ed. Russell McDougall
Henry Kendall has been one of the Jess neglected of 19th century Australian writers. For all his misfortunes and the wretchedness of some aspects of his life, he fared better than many of his contemporaries, and posterity has continued to pay him a considerable amount of attention. Collections of his poems started to appear not long after his death; one in 1890, another in 1903, and in 1920 Bertram Stevens brought out with Angus and Robertson an extremely elegant collection with a finely written biographical introduction. The Bishop of Adelaide published his monumental 'definitive' edition in 1966, and there have been excellent shorter selections by T. Inglis Moore (1957) and by A.D. Hope and Leonie Kramer (1973). This list is far from complete. Of course Kendall never achieved the popularity of Adam Lindsay Gordon, either in the 19th century or after. Even early 20th century poets like Mary Gilmore and John Shaw Neilson named Gordon as their favourite Australian poet. But if one compares Kendall's publication history with that of Charles Harpur, one sees a different story. Kendall was lucky to win the support of many people, especially perhaps the posthumous support of A.G. Stephens who was so ruthlessly dismissive of Harpur; in fact Stephens's attitude to Harpur may well have been pivotal to the long delay in the recognition and publication of his work.
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Cite as: Smith, Vivian. ‘Review of Henry Kendall: Poetry, Prose and Selected Correspondence ed. Michael Ackland, and Henry Kendall--The Muse of Australia ed. Russell McDougall.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 16, no. 2, 1993, doi: 10.20314/als.e1c6e899dd.