//
you're reading...
2011-12, 371, 372, Richard Blair, Show and Tell

September 2010 Show & Tell meeting in Sydney

DUE TO THE DEFERRED BCSA AGM (Sydney 2010) this Show and Tell was held earlier than usual, on 4 September 2010 at Summer Hill Community Centre. It was chaired by BCSA president Chris Nicholls who adjudged the winner as Graham Stone for his revised self-published Australian Science Fiction Bibliography 1848-1999. Contributions follow from Neil Radford, Vicki Nicholls, Chris Nicholls, Doug Mackenzie, Jeff Bidgood, John Newland, Brian Taylor and Richard Blair although, it is noted that the item presented by Richard is represented here by Jean Stone’s review article that originally appeared in Biblionews issue 254 (June 1982).

Graham Stone: This is my revised edition of Australian Science Fiction Bibliography 1848-1999 (2010, A4 format, 323 pp.) which I compiled, published and hand-bound. It was previously issued in 2004. This bibliography is a comprehensive record of science fiction written by Australians, wherever printed, as well as works of overseas origin published in Australia. It contains information on about 550 books; over 1400 short stories found in magazines, newspapers and anthologies; translations, reviews and other related matter.

Neil Radford: I showed a copy of the first edition (1943) of Marjorie Barnard’s book of short stories The Persimmon Tree, signed by the author and with a signed presentation inscription. The book was republished in 1985 by Virago in its Modern Classics series and the copy I showed was a Virago edition, also signed by the author. This was interesting because the author had misspelled her name when signing it. My speculation is that, because Miss Barnard was in her late eightieswhen the Virago edition was published, she may have suffered from some form of senile dementia which caused her to forget how to spell her name.

Vicki Nicholls: The first of my two pictorial books was on old English inns, in some of which friends of mine had stayed and had related odd tales of dubious experience. My second book was on bridal gowns, some of which my daughter would like to wear, should a groom ever appear on the horizon!

Chris Nicholls: I presented a very small leather-bound edition of The Poetical Works of James Thomson – three volumes-in-one printed in London in 1786. The points of interest are: 1) the inscription on the inner end paper of the owner dated 1788; 2) that being the year of the First Fleet (and further inscribed on to another in 1792); 3) the fact that Thomson was at the time of his original works regarded as Scotland’s premier poet; and 4) that he was the originator of the words of Rule Britannia through his poem Britannia. I purchased the book at a country bookfair near Gloucester whilst on a trip to the UK in 2009.

Doug McKenzie: Louis Wain, Illustrator: 

I BOUGHT A BOX OF over 20 books for children at Raffan, Kelaher & Thomas [auctioneers] on 19 July 2010. Among them was Merry Times with Louis Wain (London, Raphael Tuck & Sons, n.d., but known to be 1916), which is a real treasure. It is a set of children’s stories, all illustrated by Wain.
For some time I’ve owned a biography, Rodney Dale Louis Wain: the man who drew cats (London, William Kimber, 1968) and a revised edition, Rodney Dale Louis Wain: the man who drew cats (London, Michael O’Mara Books in association with Chris Beetles Ltd, 1991).
Louis Wain was born in London on 5 August 1860 and died in St Albans on 4 July 1939 aged 78. He was the eldest in a family and had five sisters and a stillborn brother. His father died when Louis was 20. Louis became the breadwinner and supported his mother and sisters thereafter. In 1884 he married a woman ten years older, who died of breast cancer within three years.
He illustrated wholly, or in part, over 200 books; a bibliography by Ellery Yale Wood lists 209. His peak year was 1903, with eleven books, eight with Louis Wain in the title. Merry times with Louis Wain is perhaps, reasonably typical of his work, which had, nevertheless, many variations.

Louis was poor in handling money and was often hard up especially as he had six others to support. He didn’t retain any copyrights. He developed schizophrenia and was declared insane in 1924. He continued to draw and paint in the three hospitals where he had been committed – Springfield (a year), Bethlem (five years) and Napsbury (nine) near St Albans, north of London. The Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, helped push an appeal for him in 1925, just one year after committal. Louis died in 1939 aged 78.
My box of children’s books also contained Edric Vredenburg (ed.) Little people’s annual made for you by Father Tuck (London, Raphael Tuck & Sons, n.d.), which includes two cat drawings by Louis Wain. They are two of his ‘smooth’ cats and appear on opposite pages, about a third of the way through. I imagine they are there purely as a kindness to Louis by Raphael Tuck.
The date of the book is almost certainly 1926. At the foot of the final page is a publisher’s list, showing ‘7/26’. On the verso of the first page is ‘This book belongs to Cecil Donaldson 1926 Xmas’ in ink. The Vredenburg book is not listed in Ellery Yale Wood’s bibliography of 209 books: A list of books illustrated by Louis Wain, which appears in the Rodney Dale biography (2e, 1991, pp. 136-143).
The Internet reveals only four copies of Merry times with Louis Wain for sale, all with UK dealers. Three are valued at A$300 and one at A$400. In my box were 20 other children’s books, including Dot and the kangaroo, inscribed and signed by its author, Ethel C Pedley. Those 20 books would probably average about $20 each on resale. I paid $175 for the box, which could be worth $700.
It shows that, even in 2010, collectors can still find bargains at bric-a-brac sales.

Jeff Bidgood: Old and rare Scottish Tartans

MY FIRST WIFE WAS a Fraser and proud of her Scottish heritage. Although a fourth generation Australian, my father-in-law always considered himself a Scot and so when we saw this book we just had to have it.
Old and rare Scottish Tartans was written by Donald William Stewart FSA Scot and was published by George P Johnson of Edinburgh in 1893. The book is number 176 of 250 copies. My copy has been rebound at some time and some of the pages are still a bit fragile. There are another 50 copies of the book in another format. This edition contains 45 tartans. Stewart’s son subsequently issued an updated version of the book in 1950 with 266 tartans.
Stewart spent many years looking at portraits in various homes and searching through private collections of tartans in an endeavour to find the original pattern of each of the rare tartans in his book. In some cases he believes he discovered errors or changes from the original in the existing tartan pattern of the time.

One of the interesting things about the book is that the writer was not confident about portraying the colours of the tartans properly. In part he says ‘none of the processes of colour printing yet invented does justice to the great beauty of the actual fabric’. So he proceeded to have the samples woven in silk and pasted into each copy of the book with sufficient margin to allow the sample to be glued in without damaging the colour. He certainly achieved his desire. These colours are as bright as the day they were woven.
On the cover of the book there is a reproduction of a figure from the oldest known painting in Scotland showing traditional Highland dress. The wearing of the kilt appears to have been noted as far back as 1100 but it is not at all certain when it emerged due to translation difficulties in the records. Tartans seem to date from about 1300 but accuracy of dating suffers because of the language used.
Truisms are where you find them and I would like to quote from the introduction to the book, the following about Scottish Clan wars:

Thirty men, naked but for a doublet that hung from one side, made for the field of battle, armed with bow and double-axe: and these forthwith met the encounter of a like number, armed in the same fashion. One of the combatants made his escape from the fight. And there was not found any man who would take the place of the run-away; and t’was no marvel, since to fight for your life, naked but for a plaid, is no trifle.

Pasted into the front of the book is a note on Government House, Sydney letterhead which states:

‘ “Old Scots Tartans” returned to the Hon. Hugh D. MacIntosh MLC
with many thanks W. E. Davidson May 11th 1919’

WE Davidson was Sir Walter Edward Davidson, Governor of New South Wales from 18 February 1918 to 16 September 1923. Hugh Donald McIntosh (1876-1942) otherwise known as ‘Huge Deal’ McIntosh, the owner of the book in 1919, was another kettle of fish.Early in life he drifted from one job to another but, after marrying in Sydney, he seemed to settle down and eventually started to manage boxers.

HughMcIntosh

The big event in this sport at the time was the Burns/Johnson World Heavy-weight Title which was held in Sydney on Boxing Day, 1908. The principal reason for the event being held in Sydney was that Burns was white and Johnson was black and such fights were illegal in America, Britain and on the Continent. There was only one woman, the wife of a Canadian newspaper correspondent, at the fight. McIntosh is said to have made more than £16,000 from the event. In addition, he made quite a killing selling seats to watch the men training at a shilling a time. This was then approximately 4% of the weekly wage (c. $50 at today’s value).
One wonders what the fans saw, however, as both fighters, whilst considered to be great physical specimens, were also known as womanising, champagne-swilling, cigar-smoking men!
McIntosh later owned the Sydney Stadium and the Sunday Times newspaper. The Australian Dictionary of Biography says of McIntosh: ‘he collected fine books; his friend Norman Lindsay designed his book-plates’.

John Newland:

I have pleasure in sharing the two-volume work titled Coal, Railways and Mines: The Colliery Railways of the Newcastle District and the Early Coal Shipping Facilities, the second of a trilogy of early coal mining activities in New South Wales, which was published in late 2009 by the Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Division. It comprises 1152 pages copiously illustrated with 600 maps/diagrams and 1100 photographs, many of them being a century old. Other books in the Coal, Railways and Mines trilogy are: The Story of the Railways and Collieries of J & A Brown (published 2004; 2nd edition 2007); and The Railways and Collieries of the South Maitland Coalfield (in preparation).

CoalRlwysMines

The author, Brian R Andrews, was employed for much of his life as a draftsman in the coal industry where he had been on location on the Northern Coalfields. He took an intense interest in the industry’s many functions, intimately recording its operations and taking a great number of photographs, many of which are reproduced in his work. It was a great pleasure for me to have typeset his manuscript as well as redrafting his diagrams to publication standard and scanning the photographs and slides and likewise, bringing those up to publication standard.
The railways and collieries of the Newcastle district were located over a vast area extending from the centre of the City of Newcastle itself to the Lake Macquarie town of Belmont in the south and westerly to Awaba, Wallsend and West Wallsend. Coal deposits were discovered near the mouth of the Hunter River and a small settlement was soon established there. Some coal mining was embarked upon with small shipments of coal to the Sydney settlement and the first export of coal to India in 1797.

In 1824 a Royal Charter was granted to the Australian Agricultural Company (the AA Company) giving rights to some seven million acres of land mainly in the Hunter Valley and Lower North Coast for agricultural purposes. The AA Company soon after took over the government-operated coal mines at Newcastle with the exclusive right to mine coal in the district. The AA Company enjoyed such monopoly for several years until challenged in the courts whereupon a number of other companies took up leases for coal mining. The book also describes in great detail the formations of these companies together with the railways they built and of the locomotives and rolling stock acquired and operated by them.

Attention is also focussed on the transport of coal to the Port of Newcastle and the development of coal handling facilities at those wharves and shoots near Newcastle Railway Station, The Dyke and The Basin on the banks of the Hunter River.
The subject is a very large field and despite previous attempts to document this, the author has very carefully researched over several years a great deal of original source material and newspaper reports to reproduce this excellent definitive text.
Many of the collieries mentioned have closed together with the dismantling of their branch railways. The book will serve as an historical reminder of what was once there. Copies are available at the Australian Railway Historical Society bookshop situated at the Central Railway Station Concourse, Sydney.

Brian Taylor: Some books of Alice E Drake and the books by Elizabeth von Arnim

MY SON ALASDAIR LIVED FOR a few years in a house in an inner Sydney suburb owned by a nearby tertiary educational institution. He was allowed to live there for a small rent on the understanding that no repairs would be done and he would have to move out when the institution was ready to demolish the place. He often allowed friends and homeless people to stay there. In 1997 he went overseas and left the house in the care of a friend. While he was away the institution insisted the place be vacated as it was about to be demolished. The friend packed all the contents up and asked me to pick them up and store them at my house, which I did.
Amongst the contents I found a small set of books, most in uniform format and binding, but in very poor condition, lacking spines and having otherwise damaged bindings. Indeed, it looked as if cockroaches or other vermin may have dined on them.
All the books were octavo in format and bound in blue cloth. The striking thing was that almost all these books had the signature of the same person in the top right hand corner of the front end paper, usually with a date of some sort. Their former owner signed herself as Alice E Drake and the accompanying dates ranged from 1912 to 1914, with the dates of publication of the volumes themselves – with one exception – ranging from 1910 to 1912.
Apart from the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck’s play translated into English by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos as The Blue Bird: A Fairy Play in Six Acts, which appeared here under the imprint of Methuen & Co. of London in the series Methuen’s Shilling Books, all the rest were published in the Macmillan’s Sevenpenny Series by Macmillan & Co. of London. This 26th edition of The Blue Bird was published in November 1911. According to a bookseller’s label on the back of the front cover it was purchased from the NSW Bookstall Co. Ltd and contains on the front endpaper the inscription ‘Alice .E. Drake/ March 15th 1913.’
All the books in the Macmillan series are advertised in the listing at the back of each as ‘Pott 8vo. Cloth Gilt. 7d. net per volume/ With Frontispiece’, and all the ones in this small collection correspond to this, except that any gilt they may have once borne is no longer visible. There are two books by F Marion Crawford, one by Charles Major and one by James Lane Allen, about all of whom I knew nothing and none of whom I have bothered to chase up.
The first Crawford book is A Tale of a Lonely Parish, published in 1910 and with the inscription dated ‘April 1912’, the second is A Roman Singer, published in 1911 and with the inscription date ‘Feb. 1913’. The book by Major is Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall, published in 1911, but with the considerably larger signature scrawled obliquely across the page and having instead of a date, the name of a Sydney northern beach suburb: ‘Manly’.
But there were three books in the series by an anonymous author that, for me as a Germanist, took my eye.
The first of these was Elizabeth and Her German Garden, published in 1911 and with the usual inscribed name, but again with, instead of a date, a word below the name that has been vigorously crossed out, evidently first with the now browned ink of the name and then possibly later in ink with a bluish tinge. However, the word appears to have ended in ‘ly’, so may again have been ‘Manly’. At the very top of the inside of the front cover is a tiny purple rubber stamp showing that the book was purchased from ‘Angus & Robertson Limited’. The odd thing about the work itself is that it is anonymous: no author’s name is given. Even though it was, as the title suggests, evidently about Germany I was a bit suspicious of the spelling of Elizabeth with a ‘z’ instead of the ‘s’ normal in the German name.
Then there was The Solitary Summer by ‘the author of “Elizabeth and Her German Garden” ’, published in 1912 and with the pencilled inscription in the top right hand corner of the front e.p. containing the date ‘June 1914’. And as the third of these books there was The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen, also published in 1912, and with the same virtually anonymous authorial attribution as the previous one. The inscription is also dated June 1914 and written virtually identically to the previous one, so the two books appear to have been bought at the same time, though there is no indication of which bookseller they came from.¹ Another book in this little collection by this same author was Fräulein Schmidt and Mister Anstruther: Being the Letters of an Independent Woman, published originally in London by Macmillan in 1907. I remember reading it when the collection first came to me, but can no longer find it.
I read the first of these books, Elizabeth and Her German Garden, and concluded that it was to a point autobiographical, but wondered just who this Elizabeth was.
A bit of research soon turned up the fact that she was Elizabeth von Arnim, so clearly connected with the German aristocracy. But further research showed that she was originally an Australian, born nearly a century and a half ago, on 31 August 1866, in the Sydney suburb of Kirribilli. And her birth name was originally the slightly more prosaic Mary Annette Beauchamp, with the pet name May within the family.
Her parents had four sons and two daughters, but adopted a niece from New Zealand, Kathleen Beauchamp, who later moved on to become the author we know as Katherine Mansfield – a favourite author much researched by our Society’s late Secretary Jean Stone.²
In 1871 the family left Sydney for Switzerland and a while later moved across to London. In 1889 her father took her to Rome, where she met the 1851-born German Count Henning August von Arnim-Schlagenthin, who was clearly considerably older than her.
They married in London in 1890, then moved to Berlin, and five years later to the Arnim estate Nassenheide in Pomerania in north-eastern Germany.³ It was here she wrote her first book Elizabeth and Her German Garden, which was published in 1898. She wrote some21 books altogether which said merely they were by ‘the author of Elizabeth and Her German Garden’, later on just ‘By Elizabeth’.
Her aristocratic marriage seems not to have been a particularly happy one and she referred to her husband in her writing, e.g. throughout The Solitary Summer, as ‘the Man of Wrath’. Many have taken this phrase as an indication of her unhappiness, though especially towards the end of the book their interaction seems quite affectionate, and one writer on the Internet says that the book is dedicated ‘To the Man of Wrath, with some apologies and much love’, though Alice Drake’s edition lacks any dedication.
For a time this marriage appears to have given Elizabeth the leisure and opportunity to indulge her love of nature, especially gardens, as is abundantly evident in the three books already mentioned, and also of books. In The Solitary Summer, p. 40, she writes:
What a blessing it is to love books. Everybody must love something, and I know of no objects of love that give such substantial and unfailing returns as books and a garden.
But it did not last forever. Her husband got into financial difficulties through his involvement in a bank and the case went to trial, which took its toll on his health. Though he was ultimately not convicted, the estate had to be sold in 1908. They then moved back to London, but the Count himself died in 1910. Elizabeth had had with her husband four daughters and a son whose eminent tutors on the estate had, incidentally, been EM Forster and Hugh Walpole. Anyway, if the marriage to the Man of Wrath had itself been a trial, Elizabeth was now free of that particular burden.
After her husband’s death Elizabeth moved to Switzerland where she bought a piece of land and built as her new home the Château Soleil – ‘sun castle’. Here she wrote more books, had a three-year affair with HG Wells as well as entertaining other writers including her cousin Katherine Mansfield. The British Labor politician Michael Foote in his biography The History of Mr Wells (London etc.: Doubleday, 1995) in referring to the affair says: ‘Thereafter he formed a lively, informal liaison with Elizabeth von Arnim’ (p.127). This refers to the period around 1913-14, and in a footnote there he adds: ‘If anyone doubts the claims about HG’s comic genius, he, or more especially she, may be advised to remedy the matter by reading HG’s account of his affair with Elizabeth which appears under the title of “The episode of Little E” in H.G. Wells in Love’, which was Wells’s autobiographical account of his love life, though not published till 1984, so well after his and his lovers’ deaths. Foote goes on to say that ‘Elizabeth remained a firm friend of his ever afterwards’, though that there may have been strains is suggested when Foote says (p. 158): ‘. . . in Mr Britling [Sees it Through] itself it clearly refers to HG’s attempt to extricate himself from the affair with Elizabeth von Arnim’.
When the First World War broke out Elizabeth headed off back to London and in 1916, after a three-year friendship, married the elder brother of Bertrand Russell, namely the Earl, Francis Stanley Russell, so that she was no longer Gräfin (Countess) von Arnim, but now assumed the English aristocratic title of Countess Russell. However, she quickly regretted this marriage and fled to the USA within the year and finally separated from her second husband in 1919 and was divorced from him.
Elizabeth spent the later years of her life between Switzerland, London and the French Riviera, where she published in 1936 her autobiography All the Dogs of My Life (which is not among Alice’s books and I have not yet seen a copy of it). At the outbreak of World War Two she moved to America where she died in 1941 and is buried.
Because a lot of her writing concerns itself with the problems of women with domineering male partners, in more recent years some half dozen or so of her works have been republished by the London feminist publisher Virago Press. I have my wife’s copies of two of the Virago editions: their 1983 paperback one of Vera, first published in Britain by Macmillan in 1921, but with the ‘Virago edition offset from first American edition’, and the 1987 paperback version of her book The Pastor’s Wife, originally published in 1914 in Britain by Smith, Elder & Co., neither of which was among the books picked up from my son’s old house. While both the Virago editions have a one-page, identical biographical sketch before the title page, Vera has a quite long Introduction written by Xandra Hardie in 1982 (pp. v-xvi) and it contains additional biographical material.
While nature generally, and gardens in particular, is a theme that runs through all the Elizabeth books in the Alice E Drake collection, they all bring up the problem of women’s status over against their menfolk. However, Elizabeth is not one-eyed here. In The Adventures of Elizabeth on Rügen, she does, by contrasting the narrator’s voice with that of her putative aristocratic female cousin, show that there are ‘feminists’ (the term had not yet come into use), like the narrator, who support women in their problems whatever their class, and that there are others, like the cousin, who theorise about it but when it comes to the crunch can be unreasonably judgmental, especially where a woman of lower status is involved.
But what of Alice E Drake and her little collection? Well, there was one other book from it titled Hostages to Fortune by Elizabeth Cambridge published in London by Jonathan Cape. At first I thought that this might have been another pseudonym of Elizabeth von Arnim, but a check on the Internet revealed that this was in fact the pen name of the 1893-born English woman Barbara K Hodges. The book was first published in 1933, with this copy being of the fourth impression from September that year.
The copy has Alice’s signature on the front e. p. with below it, instead of the expected date, just the word ‘Manly’, which we have encountered in one of her books previously and is evidently the word ending in ‘-ly’ crossed out below her signature in her copy of Elizabeth and Her German Garden. Uniquely amongst the books in the collection the Elizabeth Cambridge book contains on the back of the front cover an ex libris, a bookplate, on which Alice E Drake has inscribed her name, but evidently not one especially created for her.

AliceEDrake

So what do we know about Alice on the basis of this little collection after all this? Only that she might have been born somewhere around 1880, had a keen interest in reading, particularly in the books by Elizabeth von Arnim, a fellow-countrywoman, even if she didn’t realise it, which general interest led her to signing her books with the date on which she evidently acquired them, and that she lived in Manly for at least 20 years.
How did her collection come to find itself in that rather derelict house? Alasdair found these books in the lane behind his house, as he did all of his household furniture. As many elderly residents were moved to nursing homes or passed away, relatives tended to dump their no longer wanted possessions in that lane, so it served as an outdoor bric- a-brac shop for my son, his housemates and his neighbours. Eventually the house my son lived in and the few others remaining on the street were demolished, completing the destruction of the majority of the Victorian-era suburb of Darlington, which had once been a thriving inner city working class community. Little remains to be seen of that landscape now, but these books are a tiny legacy of a largely forgotten life in a mostly-vanished part of Sydney’s nineteenth century urban landscape and its early to mid-20th century population. Presumably Alice E Drake was someone who had lived her early life in Manly, had later – perhaps after marriage – moved to Darlington, taking her books with her, and lived there into old age till she either died there or moved into care, leaving behind these books and other effects that were ignominiously dumped in a back lane. Fortunately, they were rescued by someone with a respect for books and ultimately stimulated this present account of author Elizabeth and reader Alice.
Postscript: Since receiving this article from me our Editor, Richard Blair, has gone to the Internet to check on Alice Drake. Where I intentionally relied on her books to provide me with some sort of biography of her, it is interesting now to see what Richard has discovered and how it fits with my inferences. I quote him:
‘I checked The Ryerson Index for Alice E Drake and found that Alice Emelina Drake “late of Manly” died on 1 March 1970 aged 81. Her death notice appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald on 2/3/70. Then I checked the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and under Family Research found Alice E Drake was born in 1889 with father William and mother Emma. Birth registered in Petersham. Under Deaths, she was recorded thus: Died 1970 / Name: Alice Emeline Drake / Father: William / Mother: Emeline / Registered in St Leonards District.’
Further investigation by Richard revealed that Alice lived in the house named Strathmerton at 35 Quinton Road, Manly, and is reported as still living there in 1940, when she would have been about 50.
We can thus see that she was probably born in or near the inner Sydney suburb of Petersham and that the E of her middle name stood for Emeline (Emelina is very likely, as Richard thinks, an error), her mother’s given name, was born rather around 1890 than 1880, and lived to just over 80. She would have been in her early to mid twenties when she acquired our little collection of her books, apart from the 1933 one. She certainly lived in Manly and the phrase ‘late of Manly’ suggests that she still lived there toward the time of her death in 1970. Since her death was registered at the northern suburb of St Leonards, she may have died in the Royal North Shore Hospital located in that suburb. She evidently never married, so would not have been troubled by husbands as Elizabeth was. Unfortunately, the above information (and, as Richard has indicated to me, we could explore further sources, but for a price) sheds no light on how her books a quarter of a century or so after her death came to be in that back lane – in inner-Sydney Darlington.

Notes
¹ Rügen is and was a popular holiday island off North Germany in the Baltic Sea. At my Show & Tell presentation I mentioned that two of my German friends, Professor and Mrs Brunner, were holidaying there at that very moment. I later offered to send the Brunners, who both read English, Alice’s Rügen book, but they replied that in the house they had rented they had happened to come across a German translation of it, so did not need the original English version.

² See for instance Biblionews issues 137 and 242. Society member the late Eric Russell devoted a paragraph to Mary Annette Beauchamp as the eponymous unknown author in his article ‘Author! Author!’ in Biblionews issue 296 (December 1992), p. 121.

³ My thanks go to Sydney member Don Ralston for drawing my attention to Victor Crittenden’s article ‘The Enchanted Garden: Elizabeth and her German Garden’ in Margin: Life and Letters in Early Australia, no. 81, July/August 2010, pp. 12-15. This article was originally published in the Journal of the Australian Garden History Society and during its transfer to Margin a number of errors have crept in. For instance, the name of the estate is given (p. 13) as Nassenheilde instead of Nassenheide, where Heide is the German word for ‘heath’; in fact the name may have arisen originally as a phrase auf der nassen Heide meaning ‘on the wet heath’. I thank too my wife Isobel for drawing my attention to a reference in David Marr’s Patrick White. A Life (North Sydney: Vintage Classics, 2008), where on p. 136 Marr says: ‘[White] made a literary detour to Rügen to see the schloss of the Gräfin von Arnim, formerly Mary Beauchamp of Sydney’. However, if by schloss (= ‘castle, grand house’) he means the von Arnim seat, then it was on the mainland in Pomerania, not on the island. That said, Countess Elizabeth in her Rügen book refers to the existence on the island of a Jagdschloss, ‘hunting lodge’, but never mentions it as belonging to her family.

4.mhttp://whisperinggums.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/monday-musings- on-australian-literature-elizabeth-von-arnim

5.While her books in the Alice E Drake collection are essentially fiction, they are clearly at the same time strongly autobiographical. She often stresses that she is German – which she may well have become through her marriage – even suggesting that she had an unbroken line of German forebears, which we know she didn’t. To judge from the bits of German through her books she evidently had a good grasp of the language. It is perhaps worth mentioning here that when I checked the University of Sydney Library’s online catalogue for any books by her I found that she was listed under the authorial name ‘Elizabeth 1866-1941’ and nothing more. Anyway, I became very excited when I saw entered for her a book in German: Die Andacht zum Menschenbild. Unbekannte Briefe von Bettina Brentano, shelved at 836.6 A749 E2. Well, I thought, she must have really had good German to write a book about the unknown letters of that famous German writer Bettina Brentano. Then the pfennig dropped: I remembered from my days as a student that Bettina Brentano had in 1811 married Achim von Arnim, so into the same family of aristocrats as Elizabeth, and become Bettina von Arnim. So, there’s a catalogue entry that needs fixing!

 

Richard Blair: My Show & Tell contribution was the 1981 Hale & Iremonger reproduction of Christopher Brennan’s Musicopoemato- graphoscope, which I purchased in the 1990s. I have always been fascinated by this most unusual work for a variety of reasons, but rather than repeat here my observations given to the meeting, I am reproducing the following contemporary review in Biblionews (Issue 254, June 1982, pp. 45-6) by Jean Stone. The publication date 1982 given by Jean in her review has been corrected to 1981 as the facsimile copy clearly shows the date, in Roman numerals, as 1981. The complete title of the work is Prose–verse–poster–algebraic–symbolico–riddle Musico-poematographoscope & Pocket Musicopoematographoscope. It is noted that the penultimate line in the verse below (‘& all is over with each’), appeared in the original, and indeed, in Jean’s review, on six separate lines with dispersed word spacing – a compositor’s nightmare, which latter I have not tried to reproduce here. I have added the illustrations, which did not appear with Jean’s review.

 

CBrennan

Book Review: Musicopoematographoscope by Christopher Brennan. Introduction by Axel Clark. Hale & Iremonger, 1981. vi 34 pp. With coloured frontispiece. $29.95

The first publication of two manuscripts written by Christopher Brennan, Musicopoematographoscope & Pocket Musicopoemato-graphoscope is an important addition to his work and the first to reproduce in facsimile a composition by him using free verse, the prose poem and the suggestion of a musical score. His beautiful script adds considerably to the charm of the work.
The author’s name or date of composition do not appear in his own hand. He inscribes it: Direct from Paree. Invented by . . . Malahrrmay. That is, of course, Stephane Mallarmé, the leading French symbolist poet, whose work influenced Brennan and with whom he corresponded. It has been asserted that Brennan’s handwriting was modelled on that of Mallarmé.
As to the date of composition, Brennan included a page of extracts from reviews of his first published collection of poems, XXI Poems: Towards the Source (Angus & Robertson, 1897). Some were highly critical and led him to fear his work had been rejected by the public. Indeed, the 200 copies, now collectors’ items, did not sell. His friend, Dowell O’Reilly, urged Brennan to write to please the public more.
In these circumstances, Brennan was inspired, or provoked, to compose the two works. The form used was in imitation of Un coup de dés by Stephane Mallarmé, which Brennan read in the Paris magazine, Cosmopolis, at the Public (now State) Library of New South Wales, where he was employed as a cataloguer.
Musicopoematographoscope is a large, handsome book, attractively and strongly bound in boards. The sheets (15″ x 10.1/8″) are sewn and in my copy are beginning to work loose. A portrait by Lionel Lindsay of Christopher Brennan at Norwich Chambers in 1897, is on the dust jacket. Collectors of Lindsayana have commented that had it also appeared between covers the book’s value as a Lindsay item would have been enhanced. The coloured frontispiece is a reproduction of a page of manuscript before treatment for foxing, which was carried out most successfully.
The work is dedicated to Alan Rowland Chisholm, the noted authority on Brennan, who died in 1981.
Axel Clark’s Introduction adds greatly to enjoyment of the book. For instance, it points out the various messages or statements which can be followed throughout the text by the size of the lettering;each statement extending over a number of pages. The main message in Musicopoematographoscope is I don’t give a tinker’s dam for the public, followed in smaller script by: and they return the compliment. The inspiration is clearly the poor reception of XXI Poems. There is, too, the fascination of trying to puzzle out the more obscure references. More than one parallel theme appears on a single page.
The motivation for the shorter ‘Pocket’ poem is Dowell O’Reilly’s urging to try and please the public. Though Brennan rejected this advice, the poem is an ingenious rapprochement from one good friend to another after a rift in their relationship. The message in large letters is: See you tomorrow old fellow. ‘See you’ is rendered C U, looking like the first two letters of a forbidden word. ‘To-morrow’ is represented by: Will never come. Some rhymed verse appears; the last stanza reading:
Till time is disjointed
& songs are dumb
and the sere & yellow
has long ago
been buried ’neath snow
which the night did cover
& all is over with each
OLD FELLOW

Jean Stone

 

CBsWriting

 

 

 

Advertisements

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: