Reprint: Australian Writers: To the Editor of the Herald by Mary Gilmore

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Sir, - A new generation blots out or forgets the one that is passing. This is particularly true of writers as individuals, yet by some curious requirement of the human mind writers are supposed to individually provide fertile tracts of personal story or anecdote to a greater degree than even painters. Sculptors are not in it with either, this perhaps because their art is more confined by rule, in spite of Epstein than the others. The field is already a full one in Australia, even though it is but a few years since Kendall wrote and Gordon rode. But the flower of the field will never be gathered unless we seriously begin to put on record what this one was and what that one said. Shakespeare is an example. Though a library has been written on him and his work, much of it is based on deduction, and who knows yet whether Shakespeare was Shakespeare or Bacon, Oxford, or someone else? Consequently I have suggested, as he is our outstanding poet and the son of one whose recollections had been collected for more than three quarters of a century, that Mr. Hugh McCrae be asked to give a series of talks or lectures, not so much on the books as on the personalities of writers as known to him, as well as on those recorded by his father. We want the living man and woman along with the written word as a part of our national remembrance.

For instance, we could never know why Conrad wrote his remarkable yet confined English unless we were aware that he was a Pole and therefore had a definition of English based on a first knowledge of Polish -- a knowledge that gave fluidity to the otherwise constricted.

Consequently, with your permission, I put forward my suggestion publicly in the hope that others will support it.

I am, etc.,  

Mary Gilmore

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 1929.

[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 November 30, 2011 6:52 AM.

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