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'Ern Malley' 'Ern Malley' i(A17517 works by) (a.k.a. Ernest Lalor Malley)
Writing name for: James McAuley Harold Stewart
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BiographyHistory

Ern Malley is the fictitious author of The Darkening Ecliptic, a collection of poems first published in the Autumn 1944 issue of Angry Penguins. In an attempt to expose the infelicities of the modernist movement in Australia, poets Harold Stewart and James McAuley (qq.v.) created the author and his works in one afternoon of activity. Taking lines and words from various sources, including several dictionaries, a collection of Shakespeare's plays and an American report on the drainage of swamps, the two men worked to create poetry of poor quality.

Stewart and McAuley invented Malley's life, death and a concerned sister who promptly submitted the poems to Max Harris, editor of Angry Penguins. In her letter to Harris, 'Ethel Malley' provided the following biographical details: Malley was born in Liverpool, England on 14 March 1918. When his father died as a result of war injuries in 1920 the family moved to Australia where Malley's mother had relatives. Malley attended Petersham public school and Summerhill Intermediate high school in Sydney. When his mother died in August 1933, Malley left school and took up employment as a mechanic in Taverner's Hill. At the age of seventeen he moved to Melbourne where he worked as an insurance salesman and a watch repairer. When his health deteriorated due to Grave's disease, he returned to Sydney where he died on 23 July 1943.

Harris's acceptance of Malley's poems and his lavish praise of their quality attracted ridicule when the real authors were exposed in a newspaper article on 25 June 1944. To exacerbate Harris's embarrassment, he was convicted of distributing indecent material when a South Australian judge deemed several poems indecent.

Despite the hoax and the real authors' claim that the poems lack quality, they have been reprinted and anthologised many times, including an appearance of The Darkening Ecliptic in The Penguin Book of Modern Poetry (1991), edited by John Tranter and Philip Mead. While the Ern Malley poems continue to be reprinted and read, the Ern Malley hoax is often attributed with halting modernist tendencies in Australian poetry until the 1960s.

Most Referenced Works

Known archival holdings

Albinski 146
Last amended 6 Sep 2013 17:03:30
Influence on:
My Life as a Fake Peter Carey , 2003 single work novel
Cordite Poetry Review no. 23 November 2005 periodical issue
Trunk 'Sally Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Fahrenheit 451 'Margie Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Soil : A Nocturne 'Ethelred Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
F#!* Yeah Blinkie 'Bill' O’Malley , 2010 single work poetry
Dithyrambs of Dennis Blinkie 'Bill' O’Malley , 2010 single work poetry
Blu-ray Morpheus 'Bernie Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Red Eye 'Bernie Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Antisepticide 'Nessy Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Arts & Crafts Blinkie 'Bill' O’Malley , 2010 single work poetry
Love Story Metabolites Blinkie 'Bill' O’Malley , 2010 single work poetry
Genesis 'King James Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Prayer of Manasses 'King James Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Revelation 'King James Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
V E L O 'Ern Malvern Star' , 2010 single work poetry
Glad Pews and the Good Steeple 'Francois Sagat O’Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Megastar Reveals All 'Earned' , 2010 single work poetry
Hoax 'Earned' , 2010 single work poetry
Magicked Away 'Walker Norris' , 2010 single work poetry
Decorum Template 'Dodi ‘Dodo’ Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
A Difficult Love 'Ern Malley III' , 2010 single work poetry
Catastrophe Willing 'John Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Hoarse Metaphor 'Bradley Malley-Trushott' , 2010 single work poetry
The 27 Club 'Janice 'Pearl' Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
So I Was 'Aurelia Schober Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
The Lower Half 'Giacomo Mally' , 2010 single work poetry
Uncouth Days Never Will Abolish Gravity 'Recuperating Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Departures 'Joe Dimalley-o' , 2010 single work poetry
An Air Letter 'Joe Dimalley-o' , 2010 single work poetry
Friendly Fire 'Chase Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Questions from Isla Negra 'Penumbra O'Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Italian Lesson 'Giacomo Mally' , 2010 single work poetry
Pietro Da Cortona’s Ceiling 'Giacomo Mally' , 2010 single work poetry
Short Story Hanoi II 'Act. Cotton Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Morphology – 301 'Omar O'Mally' , 2010 single work poetry
Fitzgerald (A Visitation) 'Ern Malley III' , 2010 single work poetry
Subtopia 'Jason Silver' , 2010 single work poetry
Soil of Brie 'John Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
Five Malfunctions for Max 'Vogel Malley' , 2010 sequence poetry
Sainted and Schismatic : Ern to Ethel 'Vogel Malley' , 2010 single work poetry
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