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Louis Stone Biography

(1871–1935), Jonah, Betty Wayside, The Lap of the Gods, The Watch That Wouldn't Go

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: St Juliot Cornwall to Rabindranath Tagore Biography

Australian writer, born in England; he left for Australia in 1884. He attended Sydney University and subsequently worked as a primary school teacher in the remote areas of New South Wales and in Sydney. Stone is remembered for his naturalistic novel Jonah (1911), about Sydney urban life; in the character of Jonah he popularized the Australian ‘larrikin’ (a street urchin) who struggles to survive in the city slums. A new edition of the novel, published in 1988, stimulated a revival of interest in Stone's work. Another novel, Betty Wayside (1915), was followed by the plays The Lap of the Gods (1923) and The Watch That Wouldn't Go (1926), both of which displayed his gift for vivid characterization. A progressive nervous illness brought a premature end to his literary career.

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