Hugh McCrae i(401 works by) (a.k.a. Hugh Raymond McCrae)
Also writes as: Trouvere ; Splash ; Ticket-Taker ; Taker ; Pussy Palcott
Born: Established: 4 Oct 1876 Hawthorn, Camberwell - Kew area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria, ; Died: Ceased: 17 Feb 1958 Wahroonga, Hornsby area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
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Hugh McCrae was born in Melbourne, the son of poet George Gordon McCrae and grandson of diarist Georgiana Huntly McCrae (qq.v.). He was educated at Hawthorn Grammar School and grew up around the literary circles in which his father circulated.

In 1896, McCrae's first poem was published in the Bulletin, and, encouraged by Lionel and Norman Lindsay (qq.v.), he abandoned his apprenticeship to an architect and attempted to make a living from writing and drawing. In 1901, following his first marriage to Annie Geraldine (Nancy) Adams, McCrae moved to Sydney, but he attracted only a small income from his contributions to various journals. In 1909 he published his first volume of poetry after encouragement from A. G. Stephens (q.v.). McCrae moved to New York in 1914, but, despite working as an actor on several productions, he nearly starved. Returning to Sydney in 1916, he played Adam Lindsay Gordon (q.v.) in a silent film, acted in a repertory theatre company and worked as a decoder in the Censor's Office.

Between 1920, when Colombine, a limited edition of poems, was published, and his death McCrae scraped a meagre living from his criticism, prose sketches and drawings, supplemented only by a small literary pension. He produced a variety of publications, including collections of poetry and prose, and a significantly edited version of his grandmother's diary.

When Hugh McCrae died in 1958 his reputation was quite strong. Many poets, including Kenneth Slessor, A. D. Hope and Judith Wright (qq.v.), acknowledged his influence. But, since his death, critics have directed attention to a lack of form and clarity behind the colour and music of his verse, causing his reputation to dwindle. Furthermore, his now unfashionable use of nymphs and satyrs further distanced him from modern poetic sensibilities. Nevertheless, McCrae remains an important historical figure for his influence in the development of modern Australian poetry.


Last amended 26 Jul 2012
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