Henry Lawson Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

ph_0111207196-Lawson.jpg Henry Lawson Published by Salem Press, Inc.

While Henry Lawson is known primarily for his short stories and prose sketches, he also wrote a substantial amount of verse. Collections of his poetry include In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses (1896), Verses, Popular and Humorous (1900), and When I Was King and Other Verses (1905). Henry Lawson’s Collected Verse is published in three volumes (edited by Colin Roderick, 1967-1969).


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Henry Lawson, while at the height of his career in the 1890’s, was a truly popular writer: He wrote for and about the common people of Australia, and he was read by those people. Fortune, however, did not follow fame for him, and though his work was published, read, and admired, he lived most of his life in penury and often misery. Even so, he was the first Australian writer ever to receive a state funeral, and his portrait was put on the ten-dollar note in 1965. His reputation, then, has always been high in Australia, though with different people for different reasons at different times; he has yet, however, to receive the recognition he no doubt deserves among readers of fiction in the rest of the world. By any acceptable standard, Lawson, at his best, is a masterful short-story writer.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Clark, C. M. H. Henry Lawson: The Man and the Legend. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1995. A good, updated biography of Lawson.

Mackaness, George. An Annotated Bibliography of Henry Lawson. Sydney, Australia: Angus and Robertson, 1951. A helpful resource.

Matthews, Brian. “Eve Exonerated: Henry Lawson’s Unfinished Love Stories.” In Who Is She?, edited by Shirley Walker. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983. Matthews examines the role of women in Lawson’s fiction and finds them to be idealized creatures whose contact with the masculine world of reality inevitably scars them. There is little communication between men and women, who are seen essentially as victims.

Phillips, A. A. Henry Lawson. New York: Twayne, 1970. After identifying Australian cultural nationalism (“mateship,” “common man,” “socialism”), Phillips provides a biographical chapter as well as chapters on Lawson’s folk art, his “personal views” (including guilt and melancholy), and his craft. Contains several fairly lengthy readings of short stories, as well as a chronology and an annotated bibliography.

Prout, Denton. Henry Lawson: The Grey Dreamer. Adelaide, Australia: Rigby Limited, 1963. The only full-length biography of Lawson, Prout’s book is essential reading. It...

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