y Poems [1913] selected work   poetry  
Is part of Australian Literary Reprints series - publisher
  • Author: C. J. Brennan http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/brennan-christopher
Issue Details: First known date: 1913 1913
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

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.)

Notes

  • Also published as a sound recording
  • Numbers ascribed to the poems are those given in the table of contents in the first edition.

Contents

* Contents derived from the Sydney, New South Wales,: Sydney University Press , 1972 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Towards the Source : 1894-97, Christopher Brennan , 1913-1960 sequence poetry (p. 25-67)
MDCCCXCIII: a Prelude : 1i"Sweet days of breaking light,", Christopher Brennan , 1913-1960 single work poetry (p. 27-31)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 2i"We sat entwined an hour or two together", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 33)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 3i"Sweet silence after bells!", Christopher Brennan , 1913-1956 single work poetry Sweet Silence After Bells! (p. 34)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 4i"Autumn: the year breathes dully towards its death,", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 35)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 5i"Where star-cold and the dread of space", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 36)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 6i"Dies Dominica! the sunshine burns", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 37)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 7i"The grand cortege of glory and youth is gone", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 38)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 8i"Black on the depths of blackest skies", Christopher Brennan , 1913-1960 single work poetry (p. 40)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 9i"Under a sky of uncreated mud", Christopher Brennan , 1913-1960 single work poetry (p. 41)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : I : 10i"The yellow gas is fired from street to street", Christopher Brennan , 1896 single work poetry Cities The Yellow Gas (p. 42-43)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : II : 11i"Ah, who will give us back our long-lost innocence", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 44-45)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : III : 12i"Let us go down, the long dead night is done,", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 46)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 13i"I saw my life as whitest flame", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 47)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 14i"A memory droops among the trees", Christopher Brennan , 1913-1960 single work poetry (p. 49)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 15i"Where the poppy-banners flow", Christopher Brennan , 1913-1960 single work poetry (p. 50-51)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 16i"Deep mists of longing blur the land", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 52)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 17i"When Summer comes in her glory and brave the whole earth blows,", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 53)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 18i"And shall the living waters heed", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 54)
Towards the Source : 1894-97 : 19i"And does she still perceive, her curtain drawn,", Christopher Brennan , 1897 single work poetry (p. 55)
* Contents derived from the Pymble, Turramurra - Pymble - St Ives area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Angus and Robertson , 1992 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Poems, Robert Adamson , 1913-1992 single work criticism biography (p. xi-xxi)
The Wanderer, Christopher Brennan , 1913-1958 sequence poetry (p. 139-155)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: G. B. Philip , 1913 .
      Extent: [Unpaged]p.
      Limited edition info: Limited, signed and numbered edition.Colophon states that this book was published in December 1914. Signed and numbered by the author.
      Note/s:
      • Oxford Companion to Australian Literature gives December 1914 as date of publication.
      • Table of Contents, author's note and list of subscribers at end of book.

Works about this Work

Christopher Brennan and A.C. Swinburne Michael Buhagiar , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 73 no. 3 2013; (p. 169-188)
In this essay, Michael Buhagiar broaches 'the subject of Swinburne's influence on Brennan's magnum opus Poems 1913, and [shows] how it can be used to solve some outstanding problems of its interpretation.'
The Erotic Secret Heart of Christopher Brennan’s Poems 1913 Michael Buhagiar , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sydney Studies in English , no. 38 2012; (p. 111-131)
'The purpose of this paper is... to illuminate some important occulta of Brennan's life, as examined in his poetry in a typical artist's journey towards healing and wholeness.' (p. 111)
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.
C.J. Brennan's Femme Fatale : Representations of Female Sexuality in Poems Katrina Hansord , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 9 2009;
'This essay is intended to reappraise, from a feminist perspective, Christopher Brennan's 'Poems [1913]'. It will argue that through the key figure of Lilith, Brennan's representation of female sexuality and Motherhood disrupts the traditional representations of Lilith in mythology, reflecting changes in the defined roles of gender identity occurring in the late nineteenth century. By examining Brennan's representation of gender in relation to the historical context and to the broader theological concerns of the poetry, this essay will argue for the possibility that Brennan's poetry could be regarded as 'protofeminist'. The works of critical thinkers and theorists such as Julia Kristeva, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Mary Condren and Judith Wright are drawn on to form this argument.'
Hearths and Windows : Christopher Brennan's Interlude Poems and the Question of Modernism Katherine Barnes , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 68 no. 3 2008; (p. 39-55)
In comparing it with Eliot's The Waste Land and other modernist texts, Barnes discusses the question of modernism in Brennan's work.
y The Higher Self in Christopher Brennan's 'Poems' : Esotericism, Romanticism, Symbolism Katherine Barnes , Leiden : Brill , 2006 Z1280955 2006 single work criticism
Esotericism, Symbolism and Romanticism in Christopher Brennan's Poems Katherine Barnes , 2003 single work thesis
An Arthritic Bard Alan Gould , 1992 single work criticism
— Appears in: Quadrant , October vol. 36 no. 10 1992; (p. 81-83) The Totem Ship 1996; (p. 10-15)
There is Nothing Like Brennan Geoffrey Dutton , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 143 1992; (p. 49-51)

— Review of Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry
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 - Viewless Winds Julian Croft , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Federal and National Impulse in Australian Literature 1890-1958 1989; (p. 21-37)
Melodrama and the Melodramatic Imagination Elizabeth Webby , 1988 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , vol. 13 no. 4 1988; (p. 210-222)
Dreams, Visions, Utopias Van Ikin , 1988 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , vol. 13 no. 4 1988; (p. 253-266)
And What About Forms? Chris Wallace-Crabbe , 1983 single work criticism
— Appears in: Three Absences in Australian Writing 1983; (p. 28-41)
Poetry Vivian Smith , 1981 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Oxford History of Australian Literature 1981; (p. 271-426)
The Hidden Structure : An Approach to Brennan's Poems [1913] Ken McSwain , 1980 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , March vol. 40 no. 1 1980; (p. 78-100)
Recollections Through English Spectacles Cliff Hanna , 1979 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October vol. 9 no. 2 1979; (p. 236-242)
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's Wanderer Noel Macainsh , 1978 single work criticism
— Appears in: Quadrant , February vol. 22 no. 2 1978; (p. 54-59) The Pathos of Distance 1992; (p. 13-26)
Interpreting Brennan's Poetry; Or 'The I of My Verses is Not Necessarily ME' G. A. Wilkes , 1977 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , December vol. 37 no. 4 1977; (p. 421-426)
In the Guts of the Living S. E. Lee , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , September vol. 33 no. 3 1973; (p. 335-345)

— Review of Tides Flow : Poems Marjorie Pizer 1972 selected work poetry ; Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry ; Australian Poetry 1972 1972 anthology poetry ; For the Record : Poems Anne Elder 1972 selected work poetry ; The Poems of Kenneth Mackenzie Kenneth Mackenzie 1972 selected work poetry extract ; Preaching to the Converted Peter Porter 1972 selected work poetry ; After Martial Peter Porter 1972 selected work poetry
Untitled H. Winston Rhodes , 1974 single work review
— Appears in: Aumla , November no. 42 1974; (p. 233-234)

— Review of Hal Porter Mary Lord 1974 single work criticism ; Patrick White Alan Lawson 1974 single work bibliography ; Criticism Brian Kiernan 1974 single work criticism ; The Hillyars and the Burtons : A Story of Two Families Henry Kingsley 1863-1865 single work novel ; The Miner's Right : A Tale of the Australian Goldfields Rolf Boldrewood 1880 single work novel ; Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry ; Martin Boyd Brenda Niall 1974 single work criticism ; Recent Fiction R. G. Geering 1974 single work criticism
Untitled A. R. Chisholm , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 10 February 1973; (p. 15)

— Review of Old Tales of a Young Country 1871 anthology short story prose ; Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry
Untitled 1915 single work review
— Appears in: The Bookfellow , 15 March 1915; (p. 54,56)

— Review of Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry
Some Books 1915 single work review
— Appears in: The Lone Hand , (n.s. vol.3 no.5) April vol. 16 no. 96 1915; (p. 334)

— Review of Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry
Untitled Carl Harrison-Ford , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 26 May 1973; (p. 24)

— Review of Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry
Untitled Genesius Jones , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: Westerly , April no. 1 1973; (p. 73-74)

— Review of Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry
Untitled Terry Sturm , 1973 single work review
— Appears in: New Poetry , vol. 21 no. 3 1973; (p. 66-67)

— Review of Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry
There is Nothing Like Brennan Geoffrey Dutton , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 143 1992; (p. 49-51)

— Review of Poems [1913] C. J. Brennan 1913 selected work poetry
Introduction to the Penguin Book of Australian Verse Harry Payne Heseltine , 1972 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Penguin Book of Australian Verse 1972; (p. 27-53)

Explores the passage of Australian poetry from 1788 to the early 1970s, discussing why the anthology focuses on 'articulate, personal poetry', and is weighted toward the fruitful period after 1930. Highlights important themes and concerns of Australian poetry - the quest for an Antipodean Eden, the pursuit of Romantic idealism within a strongly secular culture, and the need to define an Australian vision and identity against English culture - and assesses the individual contributions of major poets.

Esotericism, Symbolism and Romanticism in Christopher Brennan's Poems Katherine Barnes , 2003 single work thesis
y The Higher Self in Christopher Brennan's 'Poems' : Esotericism, Romanticism, Symbolism Katherine Barnes , Leiden : Brill , 2006 Z1280955 2006 single work criticism
Hearths and Windows : Christopher Brennan's Interlude Poems and the Question of Modernism Katherine Barnes , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 68 no. 3 2008; (p. 39-55)
In comparing it with Eliot's The Waste Land and other modernist texts, Barnes discusses the question of modernism in Brennan's work.
C.J. Brennan's Femme Fatale : Representations of Female Sexuality in Poems Katrina Hansord , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , no. 9 2009;
'This essay is intended to reappraise, from a feminist perspective, Christopher Brennan's 'Poems [1913]'. It will argue that through the key figure of Lilith, Brennan's representation of female sexuality and Motherhood disrupts the traditional representations of Lilith in mythology, reflecting changes in the defined roles of gender identity occurring in the late nineteenth century. By examining Brennan's representation of gender in relation to the historical context and to the broader theological concerns of the poetry, this essay will argue for the possibility that Brennan's poetry could be regarded as 'protofeminist'. The works of critical thinkers and theorists such as Julia Kristeva, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Mary Condren and Judith Wright are drawn on to form this argument.'
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 Judith Wright , 1965 single work criticism
— Appears in: Preoccupations in Australian Poetry 1965; (p. 83-101) The Australian Nationalists : Modern Critical Essays 1971; (p. 196-214)
Wright offers a very useful introduction to Brennan's poetry, arguing that "There are few figures in literature so convincing, so deep in their conception and so towering in their realization, as Brennan's dreadful and ambiguous figure of Night".
The Erotic Secret Heart of Christopher Brennan’s Poems 1913 Michael Buhagiar , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Sydney Studies in English , no. 38 2012; (p. 111-131)
'The purpose of this paper is... to illuminate some important occulta of Brennan's life, as examined in his poetry in a typical artist's journey towards healing and wholeness.' (p. 111)
New Perspectives on Brennan's Poetry : The Conceptual Framework G. A. Wilkes , 1952 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 13 no. 1 1952; (p. 10-21)
Wilkes examines Brennan's prose in order to describe the philosophical foundations behind the ideas expressed in the poetry. Proceeding from the pragmatist philosophy of Schiller, James and Myers, Brennan replaces metaphysics with self-consciousness and situates his Edenic state within the mind. Wilkes concludes that a symbolist aesthetic is not the key to understanding Poems. Most interest lies in Brennan's elaboration of those ideas into an expression of a human aspiration to perfect beauty.
New Perspectives on Brennan's Poetry : The Unfolding of the Cycle G. A. Wilkes , 1952 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 13 no. 2 1952; (p. 86-96)
Wilkes argues that Poems has not only a single theme (a quest for Eden), but, also, a 'singleness' of form. Poems must be read as a whole: a symphonic form. Wilkes examines manuscript evidence to show how Brennan revised and rearranged the order of Poems for almost ten years before this symphonic form was produced.
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.
Poetry Vivian Smith , 1981 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Oxford History of Australian Literature 1981; (p. 271-426)
Prolegomena for a Study of C.J. Brennan A. R. Chisholm , 1938 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian National Review , 1 January vol. 3 no. 13 1938; (p. 48-55)
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 - Viewless Winds Julian Croft , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Federal and National Impulse in Australian Literature 1890-1958 1989; (p. 21-37)
And What About Forms? Chris Wallace-Crabbe , 1983 single work criticism
— Appears in: Three Absences in Australian Writing 1983; (p. 28-41)
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.
The Verse of C.J. Brennan A. L. French , 1964 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 24 no. 1 1964; (p. 6-19) The Australian Nationalists : Modern Critical Essays 1971; (p. 215-219)
French provides a negative assessment of Brennan's poetry, identifying passages that he regards as "obscure" rather than "profound". French criticizes Brennan's critics for paying too much attention to the poet's thought at the expense of a sustained critique of the artistic achievement of the poetry .
Christopher Brennan Judith Wright , 1970 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 30 no. 4 1970; (p. 243-251)
Interpreting Brennan's Poetry; Or 'The I of My Verses is Not Necessarily ME' G. A. Wilkes , 1977 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , December vol. 37 no. 4 1977; (p. 421-426)
Last amended 24 Sep 2014 13:56:26
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