This painstakingly researched and beautifully written book focuses on a deeply troubled trio of colonial writers—Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833–70), Marcus Clarke (1846–81) and Henry Kendall (1839–82).
As Wilding reveals, for a brief time, 1869 to 1870, the three founders of 19th-century Australian literature were working in Melbourne together and leading a bohemian life. In a clear and compelling style,
Wilding tells the story of these troubled geniuses of Australian writing and their world of poetry and poverty, alcohol and opiates, horse-racing and theatre, journalism and publishing. T
wo years before his death, Kendall wrote: 'In that wild bleak Bohemia south of the Murray (i.e. Melbourne), I went through Gethsemane and I am only the grey shadow of the young man who commenced to write with so much enthusiasm in 1861'.