AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 Sailing for Eldorado : Going Home in the Literary Imagination
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.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In the year 1900, at the age of thirty-three, Henry Lawson was riding high. His collections of ballads and stories, In the Days When the World Was Wide and While the Billy Boils, were read in city and bush by the educated and uneducated alike. In the nationalistic mood that prevailed during most of the 1890s, he was regarded by nearly everyone as the first truly distinctive voice of his native land. Yet, on April 20 of that year, this truly famous man took ship with his wife and two small children, with a one-way ticket to England. He was seen off by a group of Sydney novelists, poets, and journalists, none of whom thought it especially odd that their compatriot should wish to continue his career half a world away. In fact many shared his ambition, and some would go on to realize it for themselves.' (15)


  • Epigraph:
    'It is only this, that we are thinking of going home..."
    'Home, you say? What do you mean? What home are you speaking of?'
    'Why, Home with a capital 'H', of course. England - Europe, that is to say. What other home is there?' -Tasma (1895)

    You're off away to London now,
    Where no one dare ignore you,
    With Southern laurels on you brow,
    And all the world before you. - Henry Lawson (ca. 1900)

    Practically all the books I read carried me to the Old world, and most often to England, which for me was rapidly becoming a synonym for romance, charm, interest, culture and all the good things of which one dreams. Everything desirable, and not noticeable or recognised as being in my daily life, I grew gradually to think of as being part and parcel of English life. I did not as yet long to go to England. One does not long visit the moon. But when some well-wrought piece of atmosphere, some happy turn of speech, some inspiring glimpse of high and noble motives or tender devotion, caught and held me, in a book, I would sigh quietly and to myself: 'Ah, yes; in England!' -Alec Dawson (1914)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Lusting for London : Australian Expatriate Writers at the Hub of Empire, 1870-1950 Peter Morton , New York (City) : Palgrave Macmillan , 2011 Z1826218 2011 single work criticism

    'Long before the post-WWII migration, over one hundred Australian writers left their homeland to seek fame and fortune in London. Some made little mark despite their arduous efforts; some made a tolerable living; a few, like Martin Boyd, H.H. Richardson and Christina Stead, actually achieved permanent fame. Lusting for London analyses how these writers reacted to their new surroundings—in both their autobiographical writings and their creative work. With wit and rigor, Peter Morton studies the expatriate experience and reveals the ways in which the loss of these expatriates affected the evolving literary culture of Australia' (Publisher blurb).

    Contents: Issues of Definition and Evidence; Sailing for El Dorado: Going Home in the Literary Imagination; A Gout of Bile: Metic and Immigrant Expatriates; The Aroma of the Past: in Antipodean London; Drawing off the Rich Cream: The Struggle in London; Who Are You? No One: The Hacking Journalist in London; The Dear Old Mother Country: Richardson's The Way Home and Stead's For Love Alone; Always the Feeling of Australia in the Air: Martin Boyd's Lucinda Brayford; A Leaven of Venturesome Minds: Literary Expatriates and Australian Culture; No More Pap from the Teats of London: From Expatriation toTtransnationalism; Conclusion: A Padded Cell in Wagga Wagga.

    New York (City) : Palgrave Macmillan , 2011
    pg. 15-36
Last amended 31 Aug 2012 15:13:34
15-36 Sailing for Eldorado : Going Home in the Literary Imaginationsmall AustLit logo