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C. J. Brennan (Christopher John Brennan) Biography

(1870–1932), (Christopher John Brennan), Poems (1913), A Chant of Doom and Other Verses

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Australian poet and critic, born in Sydney, educated at the Universities of Sydney and Berlin. The strong influence in his work of the French Symbolist poets and European literature of the nineteenth century was seen as a departure from the nationalist-radical verse prevalent in Australia at that time and may have resulted in the mixed reception of his two early collections of 1897. His major work, Poems (1913) (1914), incorporated material from his earlier work, much of it influenced by Mallarmé and by his experiences in Berlin; it draws on myths of fall and redemption, and explores the nature of love and fulfilment and man's essential dualism. In 1920 Brennan was appointed Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Sydney but his somewhat controversial character, and scandal surrounding his private life, increased his isolation in later years. A Chant of Doom and Other Verses (1918) denounced Germany's role in the First World War. The Burden of Tyre: Fifteen Poems by C. J. Brennan (1953; edited by Harry F. Chaplin), early poems attacking Britain's involvement in the Boer War, and The Prose of Christopher Brennan (1962; edited by A. R. Chisholm and J. J. Quinn), a critical work, appeared posthumously.

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