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Henry Lawson Biography

(1867–1922), Republican, Bulletin, In the Days When the World was Wide, Popular Verses, Humorous Verses

Australian short-story writer and poet, born in the goldfields of New South Wales. Lawson published his first poems in journals such as the Republican and Bulletin. In 18923 he spent eighteen months in Bourke in New South Wales; this harsh experience of bush life was the source of much of his prose and verse. His first collection of verse, In the Days When the World was Wide (1896), contained some of his best bush ballads, such as ‘The Roaring Days’, and protest poems, including ‘Faces in the Street’. His use of dynamic rhythms and colloquial speech generated a wide readership and critical acclaim. Other collections of poems include Popular Verses (1900), Humorous Verses (1900), When I Was King (1905), The Skyline Riders (1910), For Australia and Other Poems (1913), My Army, O, My Army (1915), and Song of the Dardanelles (1916). Lawson is now remembered for his short stories, which appeared in many collections. His work was amongst the first to formulate the character of Australian experience in the late nineteenth century, in stories such as ‘The Drover's Wife’, ‘The Bush Undertaker’, and ‘The Union Buries Its Dead’. Lawson was the first Australian writer to be accorded a state funeral. His unfinished autobiography, written in 1903 and edited by Colin Roderick in 1972, contains some of his best and most immediate writing.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mary Lavin Biography to Light Shining in Buckinghamshire