Xavier Herbert Analysis

Bibliography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Clancy, Laurie. Xavier Herbert. Boston: Twayne, 1981. Provides a survey of Herbert’s life and literary career. Discusses the earlier fiction but focuses mainly on Capricornia. Calls Herbert a “nationalist writer” but considers Poor Fellow My Country a failure, dubbing it “poor bugger my book.”

De Groen, Frances. Xavier Herbert: A Biography. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press, 1998. A definitive biography that examines all aspects of Herbert’s complex personality from a psychoanalytic standpoint. The figure that emerges is at times appalling, as De Groen does not try to mask her subject’s unlikable side.

Ross, Robert. “Xavier Herbert’s Poor Fellow My Country: In Search of an American Audience.” Journal of Popular Culture 23, no. 2 (Fall, 1989): 55-62. Questions why the novel did not gain recognition when published in the United States. Concludes that its bigotry, attitudes toward sexuality, and anti-Americanism hindered its reception.

Stow, Randolph. “Epic of Capricorn.” The Times Literary Supplement, April 9, 1976, 28. An Australian novelist much different from Herbert calls Poor Fellow My Country “perhaps the Australian classic” in spite of its faults. Praises the vigorous narrative.

Wevers, Lyda. “Terra Australis: Landscape as Medium in Capricornia and Poor Fellow My Country.” Australian Literary Studies 17, no. 1 (May, 1995): 38-48. Discusses Herbert’s nationalism and his treatment of Aborigines.