Image courtesy of publisher's website.
y Fredy Neptune single work   novel  
  • Author: Les Murray http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/murray-les
Issue Details: First known date: 1998... 1998 Fredy Neptune
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

When German-Australian sailor Friedrich 'Fredy' Boettcher is shanghied aboard a German Navy battleship at the outbreak of World War I, the sight of frenzied mobs burning Armenian women to death in Turkey causes him, through moral shock, to lose his sense of touch. This mysterious disability, which he knows he must hide, is both protection and curse during much of his life, as he orbits the high horror and low humor of a catastrophic age. Told in blue-collar English that regains freshness by eschewing the mind-set of literary language, Fredy's picaresque life - as, perhaps, the only Nordic Superman ever - is deep-dyed in layers of irony and attains a mind-inverting resolution. (Libraries Australia)


  • A novel in verse form.
  • Dedication: To the glory of God
  • Other formats: Also sound recording.


* Contents derived from the Zurich,
Western Europe, Europe,
Ammann , 2004 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
How Fred and I Wrote Fredy Neptune, Les Murray , 1999 single work autobiography Wie Fred und ich Fredy Neptune schrieben (p. 505-512)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Potts Point, Kings Cross area, Inner Sydney, Sydney,: Duffy and Snellgrove , 1998 .
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 265p.
      ISBN: 1875989307 (pbk)
    • Manchester,
      United Kingdom (UK),
      Western Europe, Europe,
      Carcanet ,
      1998 .
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 255p.
      ISBN: 1857543378
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      United States of America (USA),
      Farrar Straus and Giroux ,
      1999 .
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Alternative title: Fredy Neptune : a novel in verse
      Extent: 255p.
      ISBN: 0374158541 (alk. paper)
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Black Inc. , 2007 .
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 276p.
      ISBN: 9781863954020 (pbk.), 1863954023 (pbk.)
Language: Dutch
    • Amsterdam,
      Western Europe, Europe,
      Meulenhoff ,
      2001 .
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 263p.
      ISBN: 9029059915

Works about this Work

Narrative Histories and Postcolonial Perspectives in Les Murray's Fredy Neptune Katharine Burkitt , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literary Form as Postcolonial Critique : Epic Proportions 2016; (p. 33-68)
The Killer of Modern Times : Les Murray’s 'Fredy Neptune' Roberta Cimarosti , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Textus : English Studies in Italy , May-August vol. 27 no. 2 2014; (p. 67-90)

This essay explores the reasons why Les Murray's five-book novel in verse Fredy Neptune may be considered a masterpiece of crime fiction for undermining the norms that traditionally codify that genre. The norms regulating especially the detective-story are here seen as epitomising the narcissistic principles that have predominantly shaped mainstream Western art and ideology since the dawn of modern times and strongly impacted upon the course of European history both within national and colonial territories. It is, in short, this entire Western episteme that Murray's novel questions through its 'misuse' of crime fiction, as its German-Australian protagonist gets involved in the two World Wars and becomes a German or a British spy depending on the war-line he happens to find himself. This essay first lays bare the critical framework through which I have looked at Murray's novel; then it points out the way it interweaves with Shakespeare's second Henriad but especially with Woolf's fiction opening a dialogue with these crucial texts of early and late modernity; to then conclude by trying to see what formal connections Fredy Neptune may finally have with the genre of crime fiction. [Author's abstract]

Poetic and Rhetorical Figurations of Touch in Les Murray's Fredy Neptune Marie-Luise Egbert , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Anglistentag 2013 Konstanz : Proceedings 2014; (p. 291-299)
The Unnaturalness of Narrative Poetry Brian McHale , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: A Poetics of Unnatural Narrative 2013; (p. 199-222)

Brian McHale investigates the unnaturalness or artificiality of narrative poetry. More specifically, he analyses William Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis as well as Les Murray’s Fredy Neptune to show that artificial segmentation functionalizes and semanticizes nonsemantic patterns, such as rhyme, that are irrelevant and even inaudible in unsegmented prose. Furthermore, artificial segmentation occasionally coincides with narrative segmentation, enhancing and amplifying it. Sometimes, instead, it cuts across segmentation, setting up counterrhythms, syncopating and counterpointing narrative shifts. In any case, by introducing a series of minuscule gaps and interruptions, artificial segmentation jars us out of our automatic (or “natural”) attitude toward such a narrative. For McHale, artificial segmentation counters the template of natural narrative with a competing unnatural one.' (Authors introduction)

Monumentalism and Monuments in Postcolonial Literatures : Dismembering Tradition Birgit Neumann , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Anglia : Zeitschrift fur Englische Philologie , vol. 131 no. 2-3 2013; (p. 262-281)

'This article explores how postcolonial literatures engage in critical negotiations of monumentalism and, more specifically, contest the generic conventions of the epic, which is often considered the monumental genre par excellence. Postcolonial uses of the epic examine and challenge the ideological premises of monumental forms of remembrance, while they also exploit the epic’s symbolic value for their own political and poetic agenda. The interpretations of Derek Walcott’s Omeros (1990) and Les Murray’s Fredy Neptune (1998) reveal that monumentalism in postcolonial literatures is punctuated by selfreflexive, ironic and non-essentialist forms, which bear witness to both the persistence and the mutability of cultural traditions. The self-reflexive monumentalism of these postcolonial writings is not only a key aesthetic strategy employed to foreground cultural difference and localize meaning but also establishes transcultural connections between seemingly diverse cultures. It is by means of the complexity of the form that the texts evoke the multivocal network of entangled histories.' (Author's abstract)

Aber das Leben ist zu gross Joachim Sartorius , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: Die Welt , 3 April 2004;

— Review of Fredy Neptune Les Murray 1998 single work novel
Irrfahrt in wahnsinnigen Zeitlauften Jurgen Brocan , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: Neue Zurcher Zeitung , 23 March 2004;

— Review of Fredy Neptune Les Murray 1998 single work novel
Specht erkundet Busch Frank Schafer , 2004 single work review
— Appears in: Die Tageszeitung , 25 March 2004;

— Review of Fredy Neptune Les Murray 1998 single work novel
Robes, Tat, Rig, and Scunge Adam Kirsch , 2000 single work review
— Appears in: The New Republic , 12 June 2000; (p. 52-54)

— Review of Fredy Neptune Les Murray 1998 single work novel ; New Selected Poems Les Murray 1998 selected work poetry
Tall Tales and True in Chapter and Verse Peter Goldsworthy , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Literary Review , May vol. 2 no. 4 2007; (p. 12-13, 27)

— Review of El Dorado Dorothy Porter 2007 single work novel ; Lawrie and Shirley, The Final Cadenza : A Movie in Verse Geoff Page 2006 single work novel ; Fredy Neptune Les Murray 1998 single work novel
'Australian poets are leading a revival of the ancient art of the verse novel, a genre as user-friendly as movies that deserves a wider readership.' (Editor's abstract)
Fredy Neptune Goes to War Ian J. Bickerton , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , no. 73 2002; (p. 67-77; notes 232)
Transmuting the Black Dog : The Mob and the Body in the Poetry of Les Murray Gary Clark , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 16 no. 1 2002; (p. 19-24)
'Split Belonging' in Les Murray's Novel in Verse, Fredy Neptune Judith Ryan , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Imagining Australia : Literature and Culture in the New New World 2004; (p. 332-352)
Narrative Poetry: Ancient to Modern John Sheppard , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Five Bells , Spring vol. 11 no. 4 2004; (p. 10-14)
Sheppard considers the demise of narrative poetry among modern poets. However, he is gladdened by some outstanding proponents of the form, notably Les Murray and Dorothy Porter.
Narrative Poetry Rosemary Huisman , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Five Bells , Spring vol. 11 no. 4 2004; (p. 15-18)


2005 winner International Awards Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse Translation For Thomas Eichhorn's German translation.
2004 winner International Awards Premio Mondello (Italy) Foreign Author Received for the 2004 English/Italian edition by the Italian publisher Giano
1999 winner Queensland Premier's Literary Awards Best Fiction Book
Last amended 6 Apr 2017 09:04:10
  • c
  • Europe,
  • Africa,
  • South America, Americas,
  • c
    United States of America (USA),
  • c
    East Asia, South and East Asia, Asia,
  • 1910s
  • 1920s
  • 1930s
  • 1940s
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