Cultural Identity in Nineteenth-Century Australian Literature Criticism: Poetry - Essay

P. B. Cox (essay date 1939)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Cox, P. B. “Charles Harpur and the Early Australian Poets, 1810-1860.” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society 25, no. 4 (1939): 249-67.

[In the following essay, Cox discusses several of the most significant Australian poets from the first half of the nineteenth century.]

I am privileged this evening to address you on the subject of “Charles Harpur and the Early Australian Poets.” My talk will cover a period of fifty years, and I propose to deal with all the principal poets within these limits. I shall, therefore, traverse the poetical work in New South Wales from the humble beginnings down to the period of which Gordon, Kendall and Brunton...

(The entire section is 6648 words.)

H. M. Green (essay date 1961)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Green, H. M. “Verse, Satire, Drama; Essays and Criticism.” In A History of Australian Literature: Pure and Applied, Volume I, 1789-1923, pp. 98-120. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1961.

[In the following excerpt, Green examines the poetic works of Charles Harpur and summarizes the careers of several lesser Australian poets and verse dramatists.]

[Charles] Harpur's poetry cannot quite be said to belong to the literature of exile. He was not, like other Australian poets of his day,1 a transplanted Englishman, but on the way to becoming an Australian, though he had not got very far: he did his best to throw aside the veil that reading, tradition,...

(The entire section is 10042 words.)

Brian Elliott (essay date 1967)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Elliott, Brian. “Blue, Burnished Resistance.” In The Landscape of Australian Poetry, pp. 75-99. Melbourne: F. W. Cheshire, 1967.

[In the following excerpt, Elliott evaluates Adam Lindsay Gordon as the quintessential poet of the Australian colonial landscape.]

Charles Harpur remained always at heart a topographical romantic. He was gratified with typical and illustrative prospects, even though his object was always a native Australian one, never uneasy in its orientation. His landscapes tend to fit into formal frames. Gordon's might well have followed the same pattern but for a particular limiting factor. His eyesight was defective.1 There is...

(The entire section is 8003 words.)

Brian Elliott and Adrian Mitchell (essay date 1970)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Elliott, Brian, and Adrian Mitchell. Introduction to Bards in the Wilderness: Australian Colonial Poetry to 1920, edited by Brian Elliot and Adrian Mitchell, pp. xv-xxvii. Melbourne: Thomas Nelson, 1970.

[In the following excerpt, Elliott and Mitchell define landscape and politics as the two principal subjects of nineteenth-century Australian poetry.]

Poetry is one of the expressions of the community consciousness; in surveying the poetry of Australia to about 1920 we have kept very much in mind the community which produced it, largely a provincial community. The colonial habit of thought was extraordinarily persistent—traces of it are still evident and not...

(The entire section is 5400 words.)

Michael Ackland (essay date 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ackland, Michael. “Crosscurrents, Cross-purposes.” In That Shining Band: A Study of Australian Colonial Verse Tradition, pp. 114-33. St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1994.

[In the following excerpt, Ackland focuses on Henry Kendall's verse of the 1860s in which the poet thematically recast many of the works of his mentor, Charles Harpur, while offering a deeply pessimistic outlook on matters of faith in his writing.]

Charles Harpur died in June 1868, a bitterly disappointed man, with his meticulously revised poems still awaiting publication, though his work had not been without local admirers. Nicol Stenhouse had given it his discerning...

(The entire section is 9851 words.)