Reprint: Henry Kendall Manuscripts Purchased by Commonwealth Government

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The Commonwealth Government has decided to purchase for the National Library at Canberra the original manuscripts of most of Henry Kendall's poetry, now in the possession of his daughter, Miss Evelyn Kendall, of Artarmon.

There is an enormous fascination in reading poetry so well known as Kendall's in the very handwriting of the poet himself. Moreover, these particular manuscripts are very personal and revealing. Poets less modest than he have a habit of tearing up their very early drafts and leaving for posterity something so correct and neatly written that the unsophisticated believe they sat down and wrote the piece straight off, without blots and with commas and full stops complete.

These original manuscripts, left by a man who had no presumptious estimate of his work and never thought for a moment that the Government of Australia would be demanding them for its National Library, bear all his corrections, more demonstrative to the understanding and sympathetic eye of poets who come after him, and wish to see how he laboured than a whole library of very learned theses could be.

They are graced, moreover, by the annotations of his vandal young. The scribblings and the drawings he permitted his sons and daughters to make on his papers tell of a more than human patience and forbearance.

Most of the manuscripts were written about 50 years ago, but they are perfectly preserved, thanks to the care of his wife, who died about two years ago, and his family, five of whom -- Miss Evelyn Kendall, of Artarmon, Mrs John Burch, of Seacombe, England, Messrs. F. Kendall, Artarmon; A. Kendall, Artarmon, and Fred. Kendall, Chatswood -- survive.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 April 1927

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 4, 2011 8:59 AM.

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