Review of Courage a Grace: A Biography of Dame Mary Gilmore by W.H. Wilde, and Martin Boyd: A Life by Brenda Niall
It would be tempting to review these books for their contrasts—in biographical style and substance as well as for the stark differences between Mary Gilmore (nee Cameron) and Martin Boyd (known first as a novelist by his pseudonym 'Martin Mills'). One was a progressive, strongly patriotic Australian woman with abiding labour sympathies; the other an Anglo-Australian 'aristocrat' from this country's pre-eminent artistic family. The woman's story is told, with over-much detail, by a man; the man's life is evoked, with elegant economy, by a woman. Although both books are published, handsomely, by Melbourne University Press, one borders on fulsome iconography while the other is a fine and above all artistic portrait. This review will however treat them separately and it will focus on the subjects rather than on the biographers.
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Published 1 May 1989 in Volume 14 No. 1.
Cite as: Munro, Craig. ‘Review of Courage a Grace: A Biography of Dame Mary Gilmore by W.H. Wilde, and Martin Boyd: A Life by Brenda Niall.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 1989, doi: 10.20314/als.fa311205bc.