‘What Has He Done For Our National Spirit?’—A Note On Lawson Criticism


With the possible exception of Patrick White, no Australian writer has been the subject of as much printed comment as Henry Lawson. Colin Roderick's selection of reviews, essays, and extracts from books, runs to over five hundred pages, and in the bibliography a considerable number of other items are noted. In his edition, Henry Lawson Criticism, Roderick's aim was 'to set out representatively what has been said up to the present', and he cast his net wide. Some of the earlier commentaries, such as those of Price Warung and Emile Saillens, which Roderick has reprinted, are very interesting, but comparatively little of the criticism that appeared during Lawson's life-time and at his death is worth reading today as criticism. Indeed, it is fair to say that there is very little that matters as Lawson criticism before Arthur Phillips' essay, 'Henry Lawson as Craftsman', in 1948.

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Published 1 October 1978 in Volume 8 No. 4. Subjects: Critical reception, Literary criticism, Henry Lawson.

Cite as: Barnes, John. ‘‘What Has He Done For Our National Spirit?’—A Note On Lawson Criticism.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 8, no. 4, 1978, doi: 10.20314/als.7160bde734.