Narrating Colonial Queensland: Francis Adams, Frank Jardine and 'the Red Snake' (Critical Essay) - Queensland Review

Narrating Colonial Queensland: Francis Adams, Frank Jardine and 'the Red Snake' (Critical Essay)

By Queensland Review

  • Release Date - Published: 2008-02-01
  • Book Genre: History
  • Author: Queensland Review
Our rating: 5/5 stars

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Narrating Colonial Queensland: Francis Adams, Frank Jardine and 'the Red Snake' (Critical Essay) Queensland Review read online review & book description:

In 1949, Clive Turnbull remarked that Australian Life (1892), a collection of short stories by Francis Adams, 'is a book that deserves to be resurrected'. While two of the radical English writer's novels have been republished over the last three decades, Australian Life--which Turnbull regarded as 'perhaps the most noteworthy' of Adams' works of fiction--has not been resurrected either in print or online, and is accessible only in rare book libraries. (1) Republication here in Queensland Review of the original version of Adams' short story 'The Red Snake', which appeared first in the Boomerang in 1888 and was later revised for Australian Life, may help to renew interest in Francis Adams' carefully crafted but disturbing narratives of life in the Australian colonies in the 1880s. Francis Adams (1862-93) first published 'The Red Snake' in the Christmas edition of the Brisbane Boomerang on 24 December 1888. (2) Adams lived in Brisbane on and off for about four years in the late 1880s, where he collaborated closely with the labour activist and Utopian William Lane, contributing frequently to Lane's periodicals, the Boomerang and the Worker. During this period, he also published in the Sydney Bulletin, the Brisbane Courier and the Queenslander. When he returned to his native England in 1890 after six years in Australia, Adams selected a number of his short stories for inclusion in the collection Australian Life, which was published by Chapman and Hall in London in 1892. The book was divided into two sections, 'Along the Coast' and 'Up-Country', each of which begins with a chilling story about the massacre of Aboriginals: 'The Red Snake' and 'Long Forster' respectively.3 Adams' careful selection, arrangement and revision of his stories enable Australian Life to work effectively as a retrospective collection for an English audience, but it is illuminating to look at the original versions in their Australian context.

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