MEG TASKER verse in both England and Australia.1 The author, Francis William Lauderdale Adams (1862-93), an English writer who lived in Australia for only six years but was counted by Australian nationalist critics as an Australian in spirit, demonstrates in his political verse an ability to negotiate multiple writing positions and voices in order to reach widely different readerships in both the colonies and the motherland. This essay examines the way in which, after establishing a broad literary and journalistic reputation in both England and Australia, Adams adopted a split writing position in Songs of the Army of the Night. Comprising mostly ballads in the style of Chartist protest poetry, the Songs are intertextually determined; to some extent they have a generic life of their own. Yet in adopting the form of popular verse, using vernacular forms and diction, Adams nonetheless constructs a persona that is consistent with much of his more "literary" writing. Songs of the Army of the Night does more than demonstrate conflict in Adams' work between the claims of "art" and "life," between his upper middle-class cultural affiliations and working-class political sympathies. Despite this element of conflict, the configuration of speaking positions is not
Victorian Poetry – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jan 3, 2002
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