Henry Lawson had hoped for recognition by the British literary world, and felt that his two-year stay in England was the 'high tide' of his literary career. But he also later referred to it as 'that wild run to London that wrecked and ruined me' ('The Lily of St Leonard's'), and most commentators have agreed that his creative and personal deterioration began around 1902 after his return. Late that year the Bulletin's Red Page commented: 'Lawson's London sojourn, short though it was, did not improve him, and, if he wishes to retain the great Australian appreciation he has won, he had better see to his "boyangs" and hump the faithful "Matilda" again. England is no place for Lawson' (22 Nov. 1902). This essay will use evidence previously unavailable, overlooked, or misinterpreted, to suggest that prevailing views of this episode in Lawson's career should be reconsidered.
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