Geoffry Hamlyn and the Australian myth

McLaren, John (1978) Geoffry Hamlyn and the Australian myth. In: The dream and the reality. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)


In this literature review McLaren explores the literary works of Henry Kingsley, an English novelist spending some time writing in Australia, and Rolf Boldrewood, an Australian writer who arrived in Australia at the age of five. McLaren reasons there is probably no novel so disliked by nationalist Australian writers as Henry Kingsley's The Recollections of Geoffrey Hamlyn. It seems to contain the worst features of English romanticism, not only about Australia, but about life. While better English novels explore the implications of class barriers, this novel accepts them. The convicts are all from the lower orders, and conversely the only decent members of the lower orders are the loyal family retainers. The gentry, who have failed in England - due, it is implied, to the rise of the tradesman - arrive in Australia and effortlessly resume the reign of the squires. After slight brushes with fire, romance and bushrangers, in that order, the narrative returns comfortably to Devon, where the second generation is properly restored to its ancestral acres, helped by a little land speculation in gold-happy Melbourne.

Additional Information

This review also forms part of the second chapter of The Dream and the Reality, a literary work by John McLaren on the study of the realist tradition in Australian fiction, available in MCLAREN-BOXB15-DOC4.

Item type Book Section
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Current > Collections > McLaren Papers
Keywords Australian literature, literary realism, fiction, novels, rural mythology, English romanticism, MCLAREN-BOXD7-DOC3
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