The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke was the first of CJ Dennis's "verse novels" and
introduced the Sentimental Bloke, Doreen and Ginger Mick. Lavishly illustrated by Hal Gye
(whose larrikin cherubs will be forever linked with The Bloke) it was first published in 1915
by Angus & Robertson of Sydney, with an introduction from Henry Lawson. A Pocket edition for
the Trenches was issued in 1916, and an American edition titled Doreen and the Sentimental
Bloke was published in the same year. Many further impressions of the book were printed
over the years. The cover illustration above is from the 1985 printing of the 1981 edition.
I must admit to a bit of confusion with this book's title. My second edition of the book (which
has no dustjacket unfortunately) list the title as The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke on the
title page but as The Sentimental Bloke on the spine. I don't get too pedantic about
this and feel that either title will suffice. Most people would refer to the book as The
Sentimental Bloke anyway.
"Within eighteen months of its first publication in 1915, The Songs of a Sentimental
Bloke had sold 66,000 copies and Dennis had captured the imagination of a nation. So too
had Hal Gye, whose larrikin-cherubs were, and still are, accepted as the proper embodiment
of The Bloke and his Doreen.
"It is therefore with great pleasure that Angus & Robertson present this edition with six colour
plates, a new colour cover, frontispiece and title page - all prepared by Hal Gye but never
before presented in book form. Recently unearthed, the plates appear to have been prepared as
decorations for calendars in 1919.
"All bring a new dimension to The Bloke, Doreen, The Stror 'at Coot and Mar - those naked, winged
cherubs of immense charm and invention which enliven Dennis's salty and heart-warming verse."
From the Angus & Robertson hardback edition, 1985.
In addition to the above you can read the following poems written by "The Sentimental Bloke":
"I Dips Me Lid"
The Bulletin in December 1915, published a short
Note regarding the
origins of The Sentimental Bloke, and the Herald offered some
into how Dennis came to include the incident described in "The Play".
You can read the following letters relating to the editing and publication of this book:
CJD to George Robertson: 1915.03.23 with his first proposal for publication.
CJD to George Robertson: 1915.04.08