Feb 24, 2020
The Ern Malley Affair: Introduction by Robert Hughes
Posted by Michael Heyward

In October 1943, the young and successful Australian literary editor, Max Harris, received a package of poems by a recently deceased poet, Ern Malley, forwarded to him by his sister Ethel.Convinced he had hit upon the work of a Modernist genius, a poet of whom Australia could be proud, Harris published Malley s poems in his magazine, Angry Penguins With copies despatchedIn October 1943, the young and successful Australian literary editor, Max Harris, received a package of poems by a recently deceased poet, Ern Malley, forwarded to him by his sister Ethel.Convinced he had hit upon the work of a Modernist genius, a poet of whom Australia could be proud, Harris published Malley s poems in his magazine, Angry Penguins With copies despatched around the world and grand claims surrounding publication, Harris had no idea of the events that lay in store the consequences of which would haunt the literary landscape for generations.Michael Heyward s compelling account of perhaps the most famous literary hoax of the twentieth century reproduces in their entirety, the seventeen poems published as The Darkening Ecliptic in the magazine, Angry Penguins As Michael Heyward explains in his exceptional book the Ern Malley affair dramatises, luridly than any other literary episode, the question which is in the minds of the audience of any work of modern art the question of whether what they re being invited to admire is, in fact, in some sense, fake John Lanchester, Guardian A thoroughly researched narrative of the whole saga tells the story very well indeed, with wit and style Ian Hamilton, Times Literary Supplement

  • Title: The Ern Malley Affair: Introduction by Robert Hughes
  • Author: Michael Heyward
  • ISBN: 9780571221219
  • Page: 264
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Ern Malley Affair Introduction by Robert Hughes In October the young and successful Australian literary editor Max Harris received a package of poems by a recently deceased poet Ern Malley forwarded to him by his sister Ethel Convinced he

    Justin Evans

    The most famous Australian poet, leaving aside the Banjos and Lawson, is Ern Malley, but Ern Malley never existed. This is the kind of thing that could only happen in Australia: everywhere has its literary hoaxes, but usually the hoax isn't better than the 'real' work of the hoaxers or the real work of the hoaxed. Heyward does a great job telling the story, though the legal wranglings at the end of the book (takeaway: forties Australia was a horrible time and place) are much less fun than the de [...]


    David Rain

    This is a true story, and an amazing one. The “Ern Malley affair” was a famous literary hoax in 1940s Australia: without doubt, the greatest literary hoax of all time. It began when Max Harris, young editor of the Adelaide-based avant-garde magazine Angry Penguins, received a package from a certain Ethel Malley, containing The Darkening Ecliptic, a manuscript of surrealistic poems by her brother Ern, a Melbourne garage mechanic, who had died recently at the age of twenty-five. Did Harris thi [...]


    Voracious

    Skim-read this, really. Has the material for a wonderful five-minute anecdote, but not for 300 pages. Or perhaps I just lack the stomach for undergraduate politics and the infighting of poets.


    Cedric

    The Ern Malley affair was a literary hoax that was a nine-day wonder in wartime Australia. Two Sydney poets opposed to the modernist movement in Australian poetry decided to spoof the editor of an Adelaide based journal Angry Penguins. They succeeded and it became an opportunity for the Philistine element in the Australian media and public (always a large circle) to vent their hostility at avant-gardism, Bohemianism and intellectual culture in general, culminating in a ludicrous trial in which t [...]


    Stella

    this is really fun, but is it really reasonable that I should realise immediately that 'i am the black swan of trespass on alien waters' is wrong because black swans in Aus aren't trespassing/are native? aren't there other plausible interpretations of this ie alien as in foreign so he's the Australian in Innsbruck (quintessential Europe?). anyway, this and other questions about modern poetry, get it here


    Margo

    This is the book to read if you have a burning desire to learn about Australia's greatest literary hoax. Not just who and how, but even why and where and when. And then a little deeper still. Perhaps a bit too deep into the surrealists and the poetic movements of the time for me. But an enjoyable tale nonetheless.


    L.E. Truscott

    I’ve read this book before but The Ern Malley Affair is such a complex and interesting story populated by the most impressive array of real-life characters that reading it again is like reading it for the first time.The Ern Malley Affair chronicles the mid-World War II literary battle between Australian writers exploring modernism and Australian writers convinced that modernism was a bunch of boo-hockey. In 1943, Max Harris, co-editor of the Angry Penguins literary journal, received a number o [...]


    David

    Ernest Lalor Malley was the modernist poet Australia desperately needed. These were desperate times. Australia was in a state of shift. World War: The Sequel was still raging across the boundaries of Europe and the Pacific. Singapore had fallen to the Japanese the year before and the japs were expected on our beaches at any moment. And what of Banjo Paterson, bush poet/Australian legend? Dead, two years previous when his heart gave out. Modernism, a dire threat to the our arts was creeping silen [...]


    Alex Johnston

    The Ern Malley Affair is an account of one of the most perplexing literary hoaxes in history. In 1940s Australia, the self-appointed leader of the literary avant-garde was a young poet and editor named Max Harris. Harris was a fervent and imaginative but rather derivative and somewhat incoherent writer, who justified his incoherence on the grounds of being influenced by surrealism. His literary magazine Angry Penguins featured the work of himself and his friends, and also regularly carried the a [...]


    Mike

    Even if you're not interested in poetry, this is a gripping read. The true story of how a young Adelaide cultural magazine editor (Max Harris) was duped into believing that the work of a totally fictitious, supposedly recently dead poet was of great literary value. It reads almost like a detective novel, and descends into tragedy when the young editor then becomes the victim of a witch hunt, and dragged through the courts on charges of indecency. A well researched, well written and well presente [...]


    Michael Sanderson-green

    A bit heavy handed at the beginning as he sets up the protagonists , but once you get to the hoax its a rollicking read perhaps drawn out too much and to that end over analyzed. Who knew poetry was so contentious but it does give you insight to the Australian landscape in the 1940s and how surrealist like Dali were treated by the conservatives.


    James Carpenter

    A classic in the history of aleatory poetry.



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      Published :2019-08-09T10:48:20+00:00