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.
Macainsh discusses the influences on Brennan's poetry, paying particular attention to German Romanticism and French Symbolism. Brennan's time in Germany during the 1890s exposed him to the neo-romanticism of Berlin intellectuals. Brennan looked at the development of Western literature from this point of view and hailed the works of Stephane Mallarme as the contemporary epitome of an "ever-repeated striving for the ideal of Symbolic literature".
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".
Discusses the influence of Naturalism on Henry Handel Richardson's work, including "what German literature made of Zola's theories" but particularly exploring the influence of a "show-piece of so-called 'Consequent Naturalism' written by Arno Holz and Johannes Schlaf : 'Papa Hamlet. A Death.' (Papa Hamlet. Ein Tod) first published in 1889, a year after Richardson's arrival in Leipzig." (p.134)