Backblock Ballads and Later Verses. C. J. DENNIS.
Backblock Ballads and Later Verses

Backblock Ballads and Later Verses

Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1918 (first edition).

Square octavo, 150, [4] (publisher's 1918 season catalogue) pages plus a colour frontispiece and additional colour-pictorial title page.

Pictorial cloth lightly flecked and bumped at the extremities; a few spots of foxing; an excellent copy.

McLaren 253. This edition, with MCMXVIII at the foot of the spine and pictorial endpapers by Hal Gye, contains the suppressed frontispiece illustration (the bullocky is at the left-hand side of the plate). The book was reissued the following year, with the same text, a variant publisher's catalogue, endpapers with the A&R monogram, and the date MCMXIX at the foot of the spine; it was also substantially thinner. The redrawn frontispiece featured the bullocky on the right-hand side of the plate. For what it's worth, Hal Gye may have got it right in the first place. The story has it that in his ignorance of contemporary bullock-driving practice, he had the driver standing on the wrong side of the team; all hell broke loose when the book first appeared, and an edition with a revised frontispiece was quickly called for. However, if you read 'An Old Master', the poem the frontispiece illustrates, Dad McGee steps in to lend a hand to get the bogged waggon out of the mud ('red and stiff and most tenacious'). Apart from the whip and the language ('Oh, the language! ... Oaths and curses tipped with lightning, cracklin' flames of fierce abuse') he 'stepped around the waggon' - he DELIBERATELY went around to the WRONG side - that's how serious he was about moving those recalcitrant beasts.

Item #118816


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