The Forest of Night : 1898-1902 sequence   poetry  
Issue Details: First known date: 1913-1960 1913-1960
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Notes

  • This sequence contains 2 individual poems and four sections -'The Twilight of Quietude', 'The Quest of Silence', 'The Shadow of Lilith' and 'The Labour of the Night' - and three interludes.
  • Poems indexed individually; many poems in the sequence have been individually published.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Notes:
Minor title variations appear in texts
  • Appears in:
    y The Verse of Christopher Brennan Christopher Brennan , A. R. Chisholm (editor), John Joseph Quinn (editor), Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1960 Z443320 1960 collected work poetry Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1960 pg. 94-155
  • Appears in:
    y Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan , Sydney : G. B. Philip , 1913 Z1014667 1913 selected work poetry (taught in 1 units)

    This work comprises three major sections: 'Towards the Source', 1894-1897; 'The Forest of the Night', 1898-1902; 'The Wanderer', 1902, and two concluding segments, 'Pauca Mea' and 'Epilogues' (Oxford Companion to Australian Literature ).

    Brennan's own descriptionof the work was ' a sublimation of a whole imaginitive life and experience into a subtly ordered series of poems, where each piece has, of course, its individual value, and yet cannot be interpreted save in its relation to the whole' (The Prose of Chritopher Brennan, ed. A. R. Chisolm.)

    Sydney : Sydney University Press , 1972
    pg. 69-174
  • Appears in:
    y Selected Poems Christopher Brennan , G. A. Wilkes (editor), Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1973 Z438497 1973 selected work poetry Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1973 pg. 36-97
  • Appears in:
    y Christopher Brennan Christopher Brennan , Terry Sturm (editor), St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1984 Z406454 1984 selected work poetry criticism biography correspondence prose St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1984 pg. 31-83

Works about this Work

F.C.S. Schiller and Brennan's the Burden of Tyre Michael Buhagiar , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 71 no. 3 2011; (p. 116-129)
'Christopher Brennan composed the bulk of his fifteen-poem sequence The Burden of Tyre between August 1900 and May 1901, but it remained unpublished until Harry Chaplin's private edition of 1953. Prompted by the Boer war, which Brennan vehemently opposed, and dealing with it as an expression of philosophical principles, he had initially hoped to "sneak it in" to Poems 1913, to lie between The Forest of Night and The Wanderer. This indicates the weight it clearly carries, which is of a different order to that of the noisier and slighter The Chant of Doom (1916), Brennan's response to the First World War. G.A. Wilkes observed that on publication "It seems at once to have proved itself as inscrutable as the rest of Brennan's work". Yet only Wilkes and Mary Merewether have provided extended treatments of it, and much of it remains obscure. A close reading of his sources can solve some of the most seemingly intractable problems of Brennan scholarship, and Merewether's paper in particular is an invaluable resource in this regard. Yet she has missed the principle source of the Prologue, namely F.C.S. Schiller, whose philosophical work The Riddles of the Sphinx deeply influenced Brennan at this time; and so this most important poem of the sequence, as an overture announcing its chief themes and concerns, remains poorly understood. Wilkes felt that "[It] certainly is political poetry, but only intermittently is it anything more"; and Merewether that "The reading of The Burden of Tyre ... shows there to be few new ideas in it". The purpose of this paper is to provide a thorough exegesis of the Prologue in the light of The Riddles of the Sphinx, and to show that there are indeed new ideas in it, and ideas, moreover, which can throw light into some important aspects of Poems 1913, and into Brennan's response to one of his chief influences at the time.
Christopher Brennan's 'Lilith' and the Creative Imagination Katherine Barnes , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Words for Their Own Sake : The Pursuit of Literature in an Economic Rationalist World 2004; (p. 98-109)
y The Nervous Nineties : Australian Cultural Life in the 1890s John Docker , South Melbourne : Oxford University Press , 1991 Z543590 1991 single work criticism
Steps into the Forest: Christopher Brennan's Fatal Attraction Noel Macainsh , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: Aumla , November no. 72 1989; (p. 229-247) The Pathos of Distance 1992; (p. 88-108)
Macainsh challenges the view of previous criticism that the persona of Poems (1913) is in search of God. Macainsh argues instead that the object of the poet's quest is himself which he discovers through the female. This quest instils a craving for unity that can only be achieved through the impossible synthesis of the past and future. Macainsh concludes: "It is the poet's present that bears the curse of what sunders these two".
Brennan's Lilith A. D. Hope , 1979 single work criticism
— Appears in: Between Two Worlds : 'Loss of Faith' and Late Nineteenth Century Australian Literature 1979; (p. 101-110)
Christopher Brennan : The Wanderer Livio Dobrez , 1978 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Poems in Perspective : A Collection of Poems and Critical Commentaries 1978; (p. 11-36)
Dobrez examines "The Wanderer" in the context of the larger Poems (1913) to demonstrate its place in the tripartite structure. Dobrez identifies several Nietzschean echoes to demonstrate that the Wanderer reflects characteristics of the ubermensch in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, where the "Higher Man" has to "open himself out to insecurity and uncertainty". Brennan's introspective poetry is remarkable, Dobrez concludes, because it was written at a time of overt nationalism, beginning a tradition that has been carried on by writers such as Patrick White and Judith Wright.
Christopher Brennan : His Personality and the Unity of His Poetry Mario Muner , 1971 single work biography criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , Autumn vol. 30 no. 1 1971; (p. 63-69)
y A Study of Christopher Brennan's 'The Forest of Night' A. R. Chisholm , Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 1970 Z231034 1970 single work criticism
Christopher Brennan : The Disunity of 'Poems 1913' Annette Stewart , 1970 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , Spring vol. 29 no. 3 1970; (p. 281-302)
Stewart challenges the view that Poems (1913) exhibits a unified structure, citing bibliographic evidence and thematic irregularities for support. Stewart argues that the theme of Eden does not "unite or clarify" the other themes of Poems (1913) and that Brennan's images do not offer a symbolism strong enough to support a unified structure.
A.R. Chisholm's Study of Brennan's `The Forest of Night' Alan Frost , 1970 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , Summer vol. 29 no. 4 1970; (p. 516-522)
New Perspectives on Brennan's Poetry : Conclusion G. A. Wilkes , 1953 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 14 no. 3 1953; (p. 160-171)
Wilkes summarizes his four previous essays on Poems, arguing that the semantic force of Brennan's symbols accumulates over the course of the whole cycle.
New Perspectives on Brennan's Poetry : 'The Forest of Night'-- Analysis G. A. Wilkes , 1952 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 13 no. 3 1952; (p. 138-149)
Wilkes argues that Lilith, the major symbol of "The Forest of the Night", represents the lost paradise which man yearns to recover. Man seeks in his human mate the elements of love/beauty that are contained in Lilith, but, mysteriously, these elements remain hidden in the darkness, forever signalling their existence.
New Perspective on Brennan's Poetry : 'The Forest Night':-- Synthesis G. A. Wilkes , 1952 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 13 no. 4 1952; (p. 203-214)
Wilkes continues the argument of earlier sections, stressing that man requires complete dominion over consciousness to anticipate ideal unity. But the value of this dominion is in the "striving" not the "achievement". Eden is found by merging oneself in the time-process, seeking, by unremitting effort, to make explicit the transcendant self within.
Style and Form R. G. Howarth , 1949 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 10 no. 4 1949; (p. 230-232)
Brennan's Poetry (from The Verse of Christopher Brennan : Biographical Introduction) A. R. Chisholm , 1949 extract
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 10 no. 4 1949; (p. 195-203)
Christopher Brennan's 'Lilith' and the Creative Imagination Katherine Barnes , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Words for Their Own Sake : The Pursuit of Literature in an Economic Rationalist World 2004; (p. 98-109)
F.C.S. Schiller and Brennan's the Burden of Tyre Michael Buhagiar , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 71 no. 3 2011; (p. 116-129)
'Christopher Brennan composed the bulk of his fifteen-poem sequence The Burden of Tyre between August 1900 and May 1901, but it remained unpublished until Harry Chaplin's private edition of 1953. Prompted by the Boer war, which Brennan vehemently opposed, and dealing with it as an expression of philosophical principles, he had initially hoped to "sneak it in" to Poems 1913, to lie between The Forest of Night and The Wanderer. This indicates the weight it clearly carries, which is of a different order to that of the noisier and slighter The Chant of Doom (1916), Brennan's response to the First World War. G.A. Wilkes observed that on publication "It seems at once to have proved itself as inscrutable as the rest of Brennan's work". Yet only Wilkes and Mary Merewether have provided extended treatments of it, and much of it remains obscure. A close reading of his sources can solve some of the most seemingly intractable problems of Brennan scholarship, and Merewether's paper in particular is an invaluable resource in this regard. Yet she has missed the principle source of the Prologue, namely F.C.S. Schiller, whose philosophical work The Riddles of the Sphinx deeply influenced Brennan at this time; and so this most important poem of the sequence, as an overture announcing its chief themes and concerns, remains poorly understood. Wilkes felt that "[It] certainly is political poetry, but only intermittently is it anything more"; and Merewether that "The reading of The Burden of Tyre ... shows there to be few new ideas in it". The purpose of this paper is to provide a thorough exegesis of the Prologue in the light of The Riddles of the Sphinx, and to show that there are indeed new ideas in it, and ideas, moreover, which can throw light into some important aspects of Poems 1913, and into Brennan's response to one of his chief influences at the time.
New Perspectives on Brennan's Poetry : 'The Forest of Night'-- Analysis G. A. Wilkes , 1952 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 13 no. 3 1952; (p. 138-149)
Wilkes argues that Lilith, the major symbol of "The Forest of the Night", represents the lost paradise which man yearns to recover. Man seeks in his human mate the elements of love/beauty that are contained in Lilith, but, mysteriously, these elements remain hidden in the darkness, forever signalling their existence.
New Perspective on Brennan's Poetry : 'The Forest Night':-- Synthesis G. A. Wilkes , 1952 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 13 no. 4 1952; (p. 203-214)
Wilkes continues the argument of earlier sections, stressing that man requires complete dominion over consciousness to anticipate ideal unity. But the value of this dominion is in the "striving" not the "achievement". Eden is found by merging oneself in the time-process, seeking, by unremitting effort, to make explicit the transcendant self within.
New Perspectives on Brennan's Poetry : Conclusion G. A. Wilkes , 1953 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 14 no. 3 1953; (p. 160-171)
Wilkes summarizes his four previous essays on Poems, arguing that the semantic force of Brennan's symbols accumulates over the course of the whole cycle.
Brennan's Lilith A. D. Hope , 1979 single work criticism
— Appears in: Between Two Worlds : 'Loss of Faith' and Late Nineteenth Century Australian Literature 1979; (p. 101-110)
y A Study of Christopher Brennan's 'The Forest of Night' A. R. Chisholm , Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 1970 Z231034 1970 single work criticism
Steps into the Forest: Christopher Brennan's Fatal Attraction Noel Macainsh , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: Aumla , November no. 72 1989; (p. 229-247) The Pathos of Distance 1992; (p. 88-108)
Macainsh challenges the view of previous criticism that the persona of Poems (1913) is in search of God. Macainsh argues instead that the object of the poet's quest is himself which he discovers through the female. This quest instils a craving for unity that can only be achieved through the impossible synthesis of the past and future. Macainsh concludes: "It is the poet's present that bears the curse of what sunders these two".
Christopher Brennan : The Wanderer Livio Dobrez , 1978 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Poems in Perspective : A Collection of Poems and Critical Commentaries 1978; (p. 11-36)
Dobrez examines "The Wanderer" in the context of the larger Poems (1913) to demonstrate its place in the tripartite structure. Dobrez identifies several Nietzschean echoes to demonstrate that the Wanderer reflects characteristics of the ubermensch in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, where the "Higher Man" has to "open himself out to insecurity and uncertainty". Brennan's introspective poetry is remarkable, Dobrez concludes, because it was written at a time of overt nationalism, beginning a tradition that has been carried on by writers such as Patrick White and Judith Wright.
Christopher Brennan : The Disunity of 'Poems 1913' Annette Stewart , 1970 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , Spring vol. 29 no. 3 1970; (p. 281-302)
Stewart challenges the view that Poems (1913) exhibits a unified structure, citing bibliographic evidence and thematic irregularities for support. Stewart argues that the theme of Eden does not "unite or clarify" the other themes of Poems (1913) and that Brennan's images do not offer a symbolism strong enough to support a unified structure.
Christopher Brennan : His Personality and the Unity of His Poetry Mario Muner , 1971 single work biography criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , Autumn vol. 30 no. 1 1971; (p. 63-69)
Style and Form R. G. Howarth , 1949 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 10 no. 4 1949; (p. 230-232)
A.R. Chisholm's Study of Brennan's `The Forest of Night' Alan Frost , 1970 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , Summer vol. 29 no. 4 1970; (p. 516-522)
Brennan's Poetry (from The Verse of Christopher Brennan : Biographical Introduction) A. R. Chisholm , 1949 extract
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 10 no. 4 1949; (p. 195-203)
y The Nervous Nineties : Australian Cultural Life in the 1890s John Docker , South Melbourne : Oxford University Press , 1991 Z543590 1991 single work criticism
Last amended 6 Mar 2003 09:14:28
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