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The Premier's Secret single work   short story   crime  
Issue Details: First known date: 1887... 1887 The Premier's Secret
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Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon The Premier's Secret, and Other Tales Campbell McKellar , Melbourne : McCarron, Bird , 1887 Z356253 1887 selected work short story Melbourne : McCarron, Bird , 1887
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Australian Round-Up : Stories From 1790 to 1950 Colin Roderick (editor), Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1953 Z412675 1953 anthology short story Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1953 pg. 29-43
    Note: Ilus., drawing, black and white
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon The Australian Short Story Before Lawson Cecil Hadgraft (editor), Melbourne : Oxford University Press , 1986 Z397319 1986 anthology short story Melbourne : Oxford University Press , 1986 pg. 154-168
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon The Anthology of Colonial Australian Crime Fiction Ken Gelder (editor), Rachael Weaver (editor), Carlton : Melbourne University Publishing , 2008 Z1519666 2008 anthology short story crime

    'From the editors of The Anthology of Colonial Australian Gothic Fiction comes this fascinating collection of disturbing mysteries and gruesome tales by authors such as Mary Fortune, James Skipp Borlase, Guy Boothby, Francis Adams, Ernest Favenc, 'Rolf Boldrewood' and Norman Lindsay, among many others.
    In the bush and the tropics, the goldfields and the city streets, colonial Australia is a troubling, bewildering place and almost impossible to regulate—even for the most vigilant detective.
    'Ex-convicts, bushrangers, ruthless gold prospectors, impostors, thieves and murderers flow through the stories that make up this collection, challenging the nascent forces of colonial law and order. The landscape itself seems to stimulate criminal activity, where identities change at will and people suddenly disappear without a trace.
    'The Anthology of Colonial Australian Crime Fiction is a remarkable anthology that taps into the fears and anxieties of colonial Australian life.'  (Publication summary)

    Carlton : Melbourne University Publishing , 2008
    pg. 114-128

Works about this Work

'The Beast Within' : Degeneration in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Three Australian Short Stories Anne Maxwell , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , 31 October vol. 30 no. 3 2015;

'Both Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) and Clarke’s ‘The Mystery of Major Molineux’ (1881) appear to have influenced a small group of Australian short story writers who were working in the decade immediately preceding Federation. Their work appeared in The Bulletin, The Boomerang and the Australian Journal, as well as in privately edited collections of short fiction. This essay examines Campbell McKellar's 'The Premier's Secret' (1887) and Ernst Favenc's 'My Only Murder' (1893), in addition to Clarke’s ‘The Mystery of Major Molineux’, to determine how these three writers used the concepts of degeneration, the double brain and multiple personality, and to what ends. My contention is that, like Stevenson, the colonial writers explore atavism and reversion by using motifs and elements drawn from Gothic and popular crime fiction to expose the depravity of members of the nation’s ruling classes, but paradoxically also to lend them a more human face. While we might recognise greater moral ambiguity in the Australian stories compared to Stevenson’s, accounting for that ambiguity is more difficult. One possible explanation is that the writers were not just more mindful of the public’s growing taste for fictions that shocked and thrilled, they were also more willing to satisfy this demand. A second is the greater class mobility within Australian society compared to that of Britain, and that this generated a stronger tolerance for the savage impulses that lay at the heart of the settler enterprise. In other words, in that the violence that accompanied settlement had become a part of everyday life, the Australian stories appear to be more at ease with the atavistic elements of their characters – the veneer of civilisation seems to be much thinner in Australia than in Britain. Closely related to this idea is Australian audiences’ more ready acceptance of personal traits like eccentricity, mateship and anti-authoritarianism, which can arguably be traced to the colony’s convict beginnings but also to its mounting desire for an independent future.'

Source: Abstract.

'The Beast Within' : Degeneration in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Three Australian Short Stories Anne Maxwell , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , 31 October vol. 30 no. 3 2015;

'Both Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) and Clarke’s ‘The Mystery of Major Molineux’ (1881) appear to have influenced a small group of Australian short story writers who were working in the decade immediately preceding Federation. Their work appeared in The Bulletin, The Boomerang and the Australian Journal, as well as in privately edited collections of short fiction. This essay examines Campbell McKellar's 'The Premier's Secret' (1887) and Ernst Favenc's 'My Only Murder' (1893), in addition to Clarke’s ‘The Mystery of Major Molineux’, to determine how these three writers used the concepts of degeneration, the double brain and multiple personality, and to what ends. My contention is that, like Stevenson, the colonial writers explore atavism and reversion by using motifs and elements drawn from Gothic and popular crime fiction to expose the depravity of members of the nation’s ruling classes, but paradoxically also to lend them a more human face. While we might recognise greater moral ambiguity in the Australian stories compared to Stevenson’s, accounting for that ambiguity is more difficult. One possible explanation is that the writers were not just more mindful of the public’s growing taste for fictions that shocked and thrilled, they were also more willing to satisfy this demand. A second is the greater class mobility within Australian society compared to that of Britain, and that this generated a stronger tolerance for the savage impulses that lay at the heart of the settler enterprise. In other words, in that the violence that accompanied settlement had become a part of everyday life, the Australian stories appear to be more at ease with the atavistic elements of their characters – the veneer of civilisation seems to be much thinner in Australia than in Britain. Closely related to this idea is Australian audiences’ more ready acceptance of personal traits like eccentricity, mateship and anti-authoritarianism, which can arguably be traced to the colony’s convict beginnings but also to its mounting desire for an independent future.'

Source: Abstract.

Last amended 30 Jul 2009 21:10:35
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