AustLit logo
Morley Roberts Morley Roberts i(A35795 works by) (birth name: Morley Charles Roberts)
Born: Established: 29 Dec 1857 London,
c
England,
c
c
United Kingdom (UK),
c
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 8 Jun 1942 London,
c
England,
c
c
United Kingdom (UK),
c
Western Europe, Europe,

Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: Jan 1878 Departed from Australia: 1879
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

BiographyHistory

An English novelist and journalist, whose work contains a great deal of material influenced by and originating in Australia, Roberts came to Australia in 1877, living and working in Melbourne, the Riverina, and NSW on railroads and in the bush. He returned as a sailor to England in 1879 where he worked for a short time as civil servant. He left to travel, revisiting in the course of other travels, as demonstrated by Land-travel and Sea-faring (1891), and A Tramp's Notebook (1904) which contain chapters on the Australian experience. His first work, The Western Avenus (1887) detailed his travel experiences in America, including walking from Oregon to California (whilst reading Virgil), working in sawmills, railroads and with stock.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2007) says that "critics agree that he wrote far too much and too quickly, his popularity with the average reader being acquired at the cost of quality". Roberts' first nine years of writing produced six novels, six volumes of short stories, a travel volume, and a volume of poetry. To support his family in the fifteen years of his marriage, he was responsible for another twenty novels, sixteen volumes of short stories, essays, and another travel book.

His best known work, The Private Life of Henry Maitland (1912), based on the life of George Gissing, includes references to his travels in Australia. He also wrote several plays, four volumes of poetry and a book of essays. Many of his short stories were also published in magazines such as Argosy (UK), The Strand Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, and The London Magazine. His other themes included psychological (A Question of Time, 1895), political (The Colossus, 1899) and scientific issues. His work Malignancy and Evolution: a biological inquiry into the nature and causes of cancer (1926) was valued for its contribution to cancer research at the time and Roberts felt that he would be remembered for this, not his literary works.

After his wife's death, Roberts began his autobiography. It was still in manuscript form when seen before he died by his biographer Storm Jameson. Jameson later could not find that it was ever published, nor could she locate the manuscript.

Most Referenced Works

Notes

  • Only those works identified by Miller and M&M as having Australian relevance are listed here.
  • M&M on p.406 says that the short story 'The Hatter of Howlong' is in The Man Who Stroked Cats (1912) this is incorrect and hence that collection is not included here.

Known archival holdings

Albinski 191
Last amended 2 Aug 2010 17:53:45
Other mentions of "" in AustLit:
    X