Joseph Furphy Biography
(1843–1912), Such Is Life, Bulletin, Rigby's Romance, The Buln-Buln and the Brolga
Australian writer, born in Victoria, the son of Irish emigrants. He left school early to work on his father's farm and subsequently worked as a gold-digger, labourer, and teamster, before hardship forced him to work in his brother's foundry. A self-made but widely read individualist, Furphy possessed an idiosyncratic familiarity with the literary classics (including the Bible) which he used to great effect together with his wide experience of life on the land. Such Is Life (1903) was largely ignored on publication, but has since attained recognition for its innovative and sophisticated employment of shifting narrative and language techniques. It is also a rich and encompassing vision of Australian rural life, in all its mirth and hardship, though idiosyncratic in its focus and style. The work was originally published by the Bulletin, as were many of his earlier short stories (under the pseudonym ‘Tom Collins’). Furphy produced two more books, Rigby's Romance (serialized 1905–6; published 1921; full version, 1946;) and The Buln-Buln and the Brolga (1948) from sections he had been asked to edit out from Such Is Life, but neither was published in his lifetime.