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Issue Details: First known date: 1993... 1993 'Poet of Our Desolation' : Marcus Clarke's His Natural Life
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Hergenhan argues that Clarke identified with the convicts because of the 'painful dislocations of his colonial experience'. Clarke's earlier articles on the destitute of Melbourne prepared him to write about convicts, but situating the tale in the wilderness enabled him to dramatise Darwin's theories of evolution in a social context. Hergenhan concludes that 'there is a genuine impulse in the novel to grant the need for love and communality, even if society can be inimical to them and if human nature makes them precarious'. This can be seen, Hergenhan argues, as Clarke's struggle 'to come to terms with the loss and trials of colonial dispossession'.

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