A. D. Hope distinguished himself as poet, critic, and editor. His collections of lectures, essays, and reviews addressed English and Australian literature, and he also edited anthologies. He wrote one play, Ladies from the Sea (pb. 1987).
While Australia has yet to produce a poet with a lasting influence on world literature, A. D. Hope has perhaps come closest to attaining an international reputation. Since the publication of his first collection in 1955, he emerged as the dominant figure in Australian poetry.
Hope stands outside the mainstream of much modern poetry in his strict formalism and outspoken disdain for much of the poetry and critical theories of his contemporaries, or what he called in The New Cratylus: Notes on the Craft of Poetry (1979) “Heresies of the Age.” In his carefully balanced wit and in the lucidity of his use of such neoclassical forms as the heroic couplet, he seemed much closer in his attitudes and manner to Alexander Pope than to T. S. Eliot. While early compared to W. H. Auden in his sometimes scathing denunciations of twentieth century life, Hope possessed a distinctive voice with a wide range; his satirical poems have been no less admired than his passionate love poetry. In all his work, the notion of poetry as a learned craft is preeminent. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he remained content to express his vision in the traditional patterns of accentual-syllabic meter and rhyme.
Hope’s first collection was published when he was nearly fifty; thereafter, his reputation grew rapidly. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Grace Leven Prize (1956), the Arts Council of Great Britain Award for Poetry (1965), the Britannica Award for Literature (1965), the Myer Award for Australian Literature (1967), the Ingram Merrill Award for Literature (1969), the Levinson Prize (1969), the The Age Book of the Year Award (1976) for A Late Picking, the Robert Frost Prize (now the Christopher Brennan Award) from the Fellowship of Australian Writers (1976), a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award Special Award (1989), and an ACT Book of the Year Award (1993) for Chance Encounters. He was elected Ashby Visiting Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, and honorary fellow of University College, Oxford. In 1972, he was named Officer, Order of the British Empire, and Companion of the Order of Australia in 1981. He traveled and lectured extensively, especially in the United States.
Argyle, Barry. “The Poetry of A. D. Hope.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 3 (1967): 87-96. One of the early but still relevant studies of Hope, this article places his work outside the Australian poetic tradition. Argyle argues that through its formal style and classical subject matter, the work transcends nationality and is far different from the often parochial verse of Hope’s fellow Australians. Argyle concludes that Hope can be read the world over because he “does not demand that the reader be a specialist in Australian botany, marsupials, or [aboriginal] dialects.”
Brissenden, R. F. “Art and the Academy: The Achievement of A. D. Hope.” In The Literature of Australia, edited by Geoffrey Dutton. New York: Penguin Books, 1976. Through the analysis of several poems, Brissenden concludes that Hope invokes through his poetry the entire history and culture of Western civilization, thus making him far more than an Australian poet.
Brooks, David, ed. The Double Looking Glass: New and Classic Essays on A. D. Hope. St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia: University of Queensland Press, 2000. An essay collection covering Hope’s entire career.
Darling, Robert. A. D. Hope . New York: Twayne, 1997. Reviews the whole of Hope’s poetic work in the context of modernist and...
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