Reprint: Study of a Great Novelist

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HENRY HANDEL RICHARDSON - A STUDY, by NETTIE PALMER. Sydney and London: Angus & Robertson.

It is fitting that the first long critical study of Henry Handel Richardson, considered by many discerning students Australia's greatest novelist, should be written by Nettie Palmer.

Mrs. Palmer has made a long study of this author, knew her personally, and is herself an Australian writer of discrimination and merit.

The study proceeds in biographical order, so that in the first chapter we have a clear idea of the groundwork of the trilogy from the chronicle of the Richardson family in Australia. It is followed by six chapters dealing in detail with the contents of each of Henry Handel Richardson's books.

Mrs. Palmer's close study of her author is balanced and candid, and leaves the enthusiast still able to debate whether H.H.R. merited the praise of Somerset Maugham, who called "Maurice Guest" a great novel in the sense that Tolstoy's novels were great, or whether Arthur Adams, then editor of the Red Page of the "Bulletin," can be forgiven for calling "The Fortunes of Richard Mahony" a "dull chronicle, written apparently by a retired grocer."

First published in The Argus, 12 August 1950

[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 July 27, 2011 7:13 AM.

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