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McDougall RJ. Henry Kendall: The Muse of Australia. 1992.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/10895
Henry Kendall: The Muse of Australia
The genesis for this volume of Kendall papers was the first conference held by the then newly formed Centre for Australian Language and Literature Studies (University of New England, Armidale). With the aim of celebrating the sesquicentenary anniversary of Henry Kendall's birth (albeit belated by a year), this took place in September 1990, in the northern New South Wales coastal town of Kendall, re-named after the poet who once lived there, though he knew it by its river's name, Camden Haven. It will be immediately noticed, however, that this is not a conference volume. Indeed, there are only three papers from that occasion reprinted here, because this is really a casebook, collecting together a number of specially commissioned essays on Kendall and juxtaposing these with what in the editor's opinion is the best of previous Kendall criticism dating from the critical moment of modern re-negotiation of his cultural meaning and importance and literary stature. The intention, then, is to trace implicitly a history of modem criticism on Kendall, but also to contribute to that history, to push it further - for Kendall has suffered, and still suffers, from a blurring of perspectives, falsely biographical (idealising or demonising), exclusively generic (the distortions of lyric singer or failed narrative poet), culturally limited (by too little understanding of the colonial literary milieu or the detailed chronology of English/ American/Australian publication), and lacking theoretical justification. This volume, it is hoped, assists the emergence of a less defensive, more balanced and modem Kendall criticism not narrowly defined in its notion of his "literary" achievement.