The Composition of Geoffry Hamlyn: The Legend and the Facts


INFORMATION about early colonial literary personalities is almost always hard to get, and in the case of Henry Kingsley, who was nearly five years in the country but visited Melbourne only five times and rather avoided than sought literary contacts, it is harder than ever. There are even suggestions that he could have been intentionally lying low. Legend has it that he left England precipitately after what one writer has called 'a proper scandal', and that during the whole of the time he was away from home he wrote no letters, so that his parents came to believe him dead. Then suddenly he turned up in England, went to his parents' house but was too nervous to knock, fearing, when the door was opened, to learn bad news. When finally he had the courage to go in, it was a stranger who answered, but the news was good. His parents were alive but had left London and were living in the country, near his brother Charles. Although he had gone away in trouble of some carefully hushed-up kind, he returned with the manuscript of Geoffry Hamlyn in his pocket, and proceeded at once, with Charles's help, to publish it triumphantly.

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Published 1 October 1968 in Volume 3 No. 4. Subjects: Writer's world, Writers' tours & visits, Henry Kingsley.

Cite as: Elliott, Brian. ‘The Composition of Geoffry Hamlyn: The Legend and the Facts.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 3, no. 4, 1968, doi: 10.20314/als.81bca2473e.