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Please refer to the collection's catalogue record (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn742395) for the access conditions.
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Christopher Brennan, National Library of Australia, MS 1871, [box number and series and/or item number]'.
Issued in brown paper wrappers. Edition of 200 copies numbered and initialled by George Robertson, of which 150 were for sale. Five copies.
No.130. Inscribed: "To his friend F.R. Jordan, the author, November 16, 1906, Chris: Brennan". The friendship, which was life-long, commenced at the Public Library of N.S.W. at which both were employed during 1901-1908. Later Brennan's friend was to become Sir Frederick Jordan, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales.
No.135. Inscribed: "To Norman Lilley with the best regards of Chris: Brennan, 4.2.10". Norman Lilley was a Sydney journalist. He was at one time on the editorial staff of the Worker and a close friend of John Le Gay Brereton. He was a member of the "Casuals" and later editor of Lilley's Magazine.
No.147. Inscribed: "To Miss M.G. Fitzhardinge with the author's regards, Chris: Brennan, 3.10.06". Inserted is a slip upon which the author has written: "5 to 7, 10 - 11, 12 to 14, and the last stanza (Source) to be superseded, October 1906".
No.148. Inscribed: "To G.G. Nicholson, the author, C.B. 1.11.12". Brennan and Nicholson (then Professor of French and German at the University of Sydney) collaborated in the compilation of Passages for Translation into French and German, Oxford University Press, London, 1914.
No.139. Inscribed "Fred J. Broomfield: a present from Chris". This inscription has been written across the title page. Fred Broomfield was prominent in Sydney literary circles. For some years he was on the editorial staff of the Bulletin. He was a convivial companion, and was, with Brennan, a close friend of Victor Daley. This copy has been bound in rexine over the wrappers, which are worn at the hinges.
A letter from Brennan to A.G.S. after he had sent the critic a copy of XXI Poems, in which he wrote that no other copies were to be sent for review "in this country". A.G.S. has noted that he received this letter 28.7.97.
Brennan does not mention that he is sending a copy of his XXI Poems to Mallarmé. We know that he did so because in a letter to Mallarmé, 9 August 1897 [one of three letters to the French poet] Brennan wrote: "...in sending you this slight book, Sir, I would if I might, at least mark my gratitude - to you, especially, as the poet whose works have been to me the greatest renewal, the greatest revelation. If my verse fails of being the homage I had intended, at least regard me, Sir, as the most faithful of your readers - that pride I shall always guard..."
Copies of these three letters, the first dated 3 October 1896, are included. They were published by Randolph Hughes in the Australian Quarterly, June 1947. I am not aware of the number of letters written by Mallarmé to Brennan; of the dates upon which they were written, nor of their contents. They were, at one time, in the possession of Geoffrey Bennett. I wrote to the custodian of Brennan's letters, at Valvins, for information as to whether there were copies of Mallarmé's replies, but my letter remains unanswered.
A.G.S. replied to Brennan's letter, and the latter wrote again, 1.9.97.
Typed copy of the above letter is included, together with copies of three other letters from Brennan to A.G.S. All are of Mallarmé interest.
All the items together in quarter-leather folder.
Addressed by Christopher John Brennan to the Chancellor and Senate of the University of Queensland, seeking appointment to the Chair of Classics, then vacant.
Printed brochure. August 20, 1910. iipp Sml 8vo. Full red morocco.
Autograph letter from Governor Sir Thomas Carmichael, to J. Le Gay Brereton, written from Government Cottage, Macedon, 28 December 1910. 7pp 8vo.
Brennan in his brochure stated his qualifications, and his impressive record of achievements. He was supported by testimonials from the Vice-Chancellor, and five of the Professors at the University of Sydney. Professor Woodhouse described Brennan as "the most brilliant scholar ever turned out by this University". Professor McCallum wrote: "Mr Brennan is altogether a remarkable man". Professor Peden claimed that Brennan was entitled to rank high among the scholars of the world and that in the domain of pure scholarship "his aptitude for such work is little, if at all, short of genius".
Two copies: Quarter-leather over the original brown wrappers. Inserted: Autograph letter from Louisa Macdonald to J. Le Gay Brereton, written from London, 19 October 1932, 5pp 8vo. She recalls the original production and her enjoyment of the visits of C.B. and J.B. and "...your arguments about what should and should not be done...C.B. was responsible for another character besides the classic Mrs Gamp - Mary Queen of Scots. He said he was going to take Helen of Troy 'and you must give Brereton something he'll like'. It was the greatest fun to hear you talk..."
A long,and informative letter from the originator of A Mask, with much comment upon the designing of the dresses, the music, and the work on the printer's proofs. She speaks of Brennan's insistence that capital letters should be used as sparingly as possible.
The significance of Brennan's inclusion of Mrs Gamp amongst the various characters was probably lost upon Louisa Macdonald, but not upon Brennan's intimates, who would have appreciated his subtle joke. In a small select circle of Brennan's friends they adopted Dickensian nick-names and Brennan was known as "Sairey Gamp". Because of their relevance to the foregoing, three autograph letters have been included in this volume.
(1) Autograph letter from Dowell O'Reilly to Brennan. Written from Woollahra, 8 December 1914.
(2) Autograph letter from Brennan to Lionel Lindsay. Written from Mosman, 10 December 1914.
(3) Autograph letter from J.J. Quinn [whose nick-name was "Betsy Prig"] to Brennan. n.d.
Accompanying the above is short autograph note from J.J. Quinn to Lionel Lindsay, apropos of the preceding letters. He refers to the celebration proposed: "Brennan has discovered a wonderful liqueur approved by Mother Church and will bring some along."
Quarter-leather over the original brown paper wrappers, with insertions.
(1) Brereton's early manuscript draft of the lines for "Isabeau de Baviere". This version differs very considerably from that printed in the book, it is in pencil and has many revisions by the author.
(2) Autograph note by Brennan: "Dear Brereton, Tomorrow - by God's grace - And at the usual place, You'll see my bloated face. C.B."
(3) Autograph note by Brereton: a page extracted from his pocket diary. Written February 1905. "Brennan is continually suffering from a cold in the head and goes snuffling about...He complains pitifully that his womenfolk will insist on opening the back door even when he is getting out of bed. Really he suffers from a lack of fresh air. At night he sleeps under a thick covering in a room of which door and window are shut tight, and until about half-past seven he is sweating out, in the dark, a flood of unsavoury sewage. Living grossly, he boasts of his excellent health, and is belied by his bloated appearance. He needs two years hard. He feels keenly that he is no longer young, and is at times inclined to brood over the thought of approaching age. His whole body is clogged with waste material."
In this memo Brereton's writing is in the very minute script which he often used for his notes, and which he may have copied from Brennan; in his early letters he wrote in an entirely different manner. Later, Brereton's usual hand writing was difficult to distinguish from Brennan's "exhibition" style. This minuscular writing adopted by Brennan for his manuscripts, on occasion, was not habitual with him, for in his letters he shows considerable variations.
Note. Miss Louisa Macdonald, then Principal of the Women's College at the University of Sydney, planned the production of A Mask to celebrate the coming-of-age of the college, by the presentation of "an allegorical mask in Elizabethan fashion", thereby symbolizing the hopes and aims of academic womanhood.
Issued in designed coloured wrappers. 4to. Preface by Louisa Macdonald, and further note by E.M. Tildesley.
The programme includes the names of "The Persons of the Mask", also the names of the chorus girls, attendant maidens, and dancers.
The programme includes the text (with slight variations) of the previous performance. In this version, the first 4 lines of the Sibyl's introductory poem have been deleted, also a further 5 lines towards the end. The work after the first Interlude has been shortened by the omission of 2 stanzas, and the "Lucretia" passage is reduced from 22 to 17 lines. Two new characters were introduced: "Madame Melba" and "Caroline Chisholm". The musical accompaniments for the dancing sequences were also changed.
Brennan was ill in Lewisham Hospital while rehearsals were in progress, so he probably had no part in the revision. It is also reported that Brereton was annoyed that changes had been made without his knowledge. Brennan died on 5th October, and Brereton wrote a poem to his memory, "In Memoriam". It was printed on the final page of this programme.
This copy has been bound in full leather cover over the original wrappers, together with Brereton's early pencil drafts of the lines for "Queen Elizabeth". This script, 4pp, 8vo. is heavily scored with revisions and deletions. This version, for Brereton made several for this character, differs from the lines printed in the 1913 book and also from those printed in this programme.
Other notes of interest also included.
(1) Autograph letter from Louisa Macdonald to Brereton, 1 August 1913, 2pp, detailing her plans for A Mask. She informs Brereton that she is following his advice about the dances. Comments upon Griselda and Boccaccio, and concludes with mention of the "Lucretia" episode. In this connection she discourses on the subject of "ravished women", argues against Brereton's opinions and admonishes him.
(2) Autograph letter from Brennan to Brereton, n.d. "Dear Brereton: I hope you're better - you should have been there. I heard the Mask twice - Wednesday and Friday. The Sibyl never learnt her lines: in addition to stabbing, she mangled and murdered them... H.M. Green sat by me (you saw his D.T. puff a week ago); he was anxious to know our shares in the text. I let him tell me his idea and corroborated it. So he attributed to ME: the opening song, The Woman Prisoner, Queen Elizabeth, Mary Stuart. After the Prisoner had spouted her lines, he said, 'She did it well, but she couldn't get YOUR METRE' and I saw daylight. He regards it as the logical development of the Wanderer: anything in rocky metre must be mine - the rest is yours. I modestly owned up that such was the case: you can enlighten him if you like. When Madame Curie came on he said, 'The Lady of the Electrons - that's a fine phrase' (v. D.T. a week ago); so, as fair does, is fair does, I told him that you were responsible for it..." The letter continues about other matters, and there is also a very pointed comment upon the Sibyl. [D.T. is Dydney Daily Telegraph.]
(3) Autograph letter from H.M. Green to H.F.C., 29 January 1951, 2pp. Written in reply to my enquiry if he could identify the respective authorship of the lines in A Mask. "...I'm afraid I haven't the information you want. Brereton once asked me if I'd like him to annotate my copy with the names of the composers of each poem. I siad NO.: I'd like to test my own judgement and correct it by his information later. And unfortunately he died before I got down to the job...The trouble is that in such cases one contributor may imitate another, and in one case FitzGerald told me that a poem I had thought Brennan's was actually by Brereton..." Green does not mention the name of this poem.
(4) Two autograph letters from Zora Cross to H.F.C. (June 1952) 3pp. She refers to some manuscript notes which had been sent to her by Brereton, and includes them in her letter. Brereton wrote: "... That's really more than enough but in fossicking I came across a couple of scraps I now add as curios. When Brennan and I were writing the Mask, I misunderstood at first what was wanted, ar' wrote a lyric to be spoken by each character (these were changed into the 3rd person by Miss Macdonald, all except the special character, the Prisoner, which she couldn't so mar, and yet was relunctant to throw away) and a comment to be spoken by the Sibyl. Brereton has then written out his lines for "Isabeau", which are not the lines printed in the 1913 book but conform to the version mentioned earlier. He has also included his lines for "Queen Elizabeth" and this is yet another version. He wrote, in all, three variant sets of verses for this character.
(5) Brereton's pencil draft of the lines for "Queen Elizabeth", 2pp. Written in the first person. A very different version from that spoken at the performances. This script has many revisions.
(6) Brereton's pencil draft of the lines for "Mary Queen of Scots", 2pp. Written in the first person. Except for the change to the third person, this script conforms to the lines as spoken. As with the preceding script, it has been heavily scored with revisions.
A collaboration by G.G. Nicholson and C.J. Brennan.
The essay at page 34, "A Regular Hash" by "A Foreign Observer" was in fact by Brennan. The authority for this attribution is J.J. Quinn. It has been confirmed by Dr Margaret Clarke.
This book was formerly the property of J.J. Dennehy. His name is on the end paper, dated January 1917. The book has been used for study, and has many notes and scorings in the text.
Tipped in is a short autograph note from Brennan to A.G. Stephens, introducing Mr Jagelmann, "who is inexperienced of publisher's ways and came to me seeking the light. May I refer him to you? Chris: Brennan". There is an annotation on the note by A.G.S., who has also dated it as having been received in 1899.
A writer in the Sydney Morning Herald commenting upon Prose, 1962, criticised Professor Chisholm for the inclusion of this essay, giving as his reason that it added nothing to Brennan's stature, and inferred that Brennan would perhaps have preferred its exclusion. Why? Brennan had an abundant sense of humour.
Brennan's working copy for the preparation of the text of POEMS, 1913. The title page, and 4pp of text have been removed.
Half-title has been altered by the poet to read Poems by C.J. Brennan Below this he has written, "The new volume (to be published by G.B. Philip & Son) is to begin like this booklet, i.e., the half-title must be the first page of a section, the title-page the third, etc., etc." The printer or publisher's editor however, ignored this instruction.
The text of some of the poems has been amended; lower case letters at the commencement of certain lines have been replaced by capitals; poems which are to be omitted are cancelled through and annotated; and dates have been added to those poems intended for inclusion in the new volume.
An interesting feature of this volume is the punctuation. Brennan has worked carefully through all the poems adding marks copiously. He has deleted many of the existing marks and substituted others. But when Poems was printed, the punctuation was again revised in certain passages. The only certain thing about Brennan's punctuation was its uncertainty, for it was always a nuisance to him.
The book is bound in half-blue morocco. A Riviere binding, with specimens of each of the four variant "Brennan" bookplates etched for me by Sir Lionel Lindsay. These have been laid down on the end papers.
Inserted is an autograph letter from Brennan to Brereton. n.d., 3pp, 8vo. Written from Newport during 1911. After comment upon the Nibelungen theories of Lachmann, and some rather puzzlingly constructed German phrases, Brennan continues: "I have not yet got Lilley's Magazine - its a bore having to go to the P.O. here...This scrawl keeps varying: a bad pen...Its possible - keep even the possibility a dead secret from every and any person whatsoever - that I may drag out the somewhat ancient corpse of my poetic past ('Master, he stinketh') and try and embalm and coffin it properly: in which eventual case I should require your counsel... But let even this far off whiff from the sepulchre remain between us two. Yours, C.B."
This was probably Brennan's first intimation to his friend of his intention to publish a collected edition of his poems.
In a letter to Brereton, 30 June 1899, Brennan wrote: "...I am sitting once more in sackcloth and ashes on the corpse of my POETIC GENIUS..."
Boards. Tall 8vo. Title-page from hand-lettered design by Lionel Lindsay. Seven copies.
Inscribed: "To Lionel Lindsay this provisional copy as a sign of friendship, Chris: Brennan, January 1915".
Inserted facing title-page is original etched portrait of Brennan by Lionel Lindsay, with pencilled note: "I made this etching for 'Poems' but thought it would not yield an edition, and etched the portrait with the pipe but it was thought that the pipe was de trop. L.L."
Tipped in is autograph letter from Brennan to his friend, n.d.: "Lionello del mio cara, Thursday Casuals, Saturday St. Joseph's - ring me up to-morrow (Wednesday) say 2-3 with regard to St. Joseph's as it needs fixing. Don't be a dorg. The Sausage-String-Rope-maker hangs in front of me now and it looks orl-bloody-right. Tuissimus sempiternissimus, C.B." Pencil note on this letter: "Chris. refers to the Rope-maker's Shop etching. We dined nobly at St. Joseph's the following Saturday. L.L."
Inscribed: "To David McKee Wright whose promised 'bad' word shows him not as good as his word, Chris. Brennan, v.xii.xviii."
In this copy Brennan has corrected two words in one of the Lilith poems, and interpolated two lines in another. Both of these corrections have been printed in Verse, 1960.
Brennan met Wright one day in a Sydney bookshop, and asked him if he intended reviewing A Chant of Doom. Wright replied that he was going to do so, and that he would give it a "bad word", which of course was said in fun. Hence the inscription by Brennan.
Wright did everything well. His articles in the Bulletin are models of masterly prose. He was an excellent poet and a rapid writer of topical verse, much of which appeared over the name "Mary McCommon-wealth". Fred Broomfield said of Wright that when he came over from New Zealand, and joined the company of writers here, "David came in and modestly took his place at the head of the table". Brennan would have been Wright's superior in a knowledge of the classics but the latter's knowledge of English literature would have equalled that of Brennan.
Wright's A Crown of Sonnets was published in the Bulletin, 10 February, 1920 and the editor commented: "The Red Page knows of no other example in English". It would be interesting to see what Brennan would have made of such a poetical exercise; one certainly beyond the capacity of most of our contemporary poetasters.
Inscribed: "To Fred J. Broomfield in recollection of V.J.D. and otherwise. Chris: Brennan, Sydney. 8.2.15".
[The initials "V.J.D." are those of Victor J. Daley.]
Inserted: Autograph letter from Julian Ashton to Brereton, 27 April 1911, 3pp, 4to. An amusing letter. Julian Ashton's studio was a rendezvous for the group of artists and writers known as "The Casuals". Ashton makes some scathing remarks about the behavior of Fred Broomfield and continues: "The Casuals are of late anything but a happy family...it will right itself I expect...passing through a cyclonic period which is unfortunate as I hear that Brennan contemplates putting in an appearance amongst us again". Mention of Rod Quinn, Norman Lilley, J.H.M. Abbott, Dowell O'Reilly, George Lambert, and John Longstaff "who is here painting University Professors, God help him!"
Tipped in is leaf from Brereton's pocket diary, with his note, dated 12.9.02.
"Brennan says 'We'd be fools if we pretended not to know that Kendall and Daley, and you and I, are the only poets worth anything in Australia' - Damn his politeness!"
Brennan was certainly sincere in respect to Daley, for whose poetry he had a very genuine regard.
Inscribed: "To G.G. Nicholson, collegialiter, comitaliter, amicaliter, Chris: Brennan, 6.5.15".
Inserted: Brennan's autograph manuscript of the poem commencing: "Twice now that lucid fiction of the pane". Two words in this script differ from the version printed in the book.
This appears to be a very early manuscript. It is headed with a title which Brennan has cancelled. It appears to be "Leaves against the pane". The poem began "Yet once"; cancelled by Brennan, who substituted "Twice now".
Inscribed: "A Monsieur G. Boivin, affectueuse, amitié de l'auteur, Chris: Brennan. 22.vii.1919".
Below this inscription the recipient has written: "Made over to J.J. Dennehy by Monsieur Boivin on leaving Australia for France".
Inserted: Autograph letter from Brennan to A.G. Stephens, 15 March 1905, a long closely written letter in pencil, 2pp, 4to.
"Dear A.G.S. By all means with many thanks for and much appreciation of your kindness...But you must give me a little time: (a) I have no clean copy of any of my verses and must make one: (b) all that I have been writing since '97 fall into collections and each piece is meant to appear along with it's companions: now I write first and foremost for the pleasure I get out of it (poetry is for me a form of experience - or self abuse as you might say)...
"several poems are in various stages of re-completion, several others in stages of re-construction, removal of jerry-built portions, etc. It will take me a couple of weeks to make a copy, finish certain pieces, fake others, and appear before you in a fairly decent state...Bayldon comes round and preaches at me - which I detest - and gives me good advice on the future of my poetical career - I tell him same's settled...He tramples on Swinburne, and the 'degenerate' Frenchmen, etc., and I tell him his prophet Nordau is a bloody fool...he's just as mistaken as yourself in casting a cove up...yours in friendship but probably, as usual, at daggers drawn (literally) C.B."
Brennan expresses his dislike for Bayldon's homilies and lists him amongst those who, having tramped the backblocks, arrogate to themselves all the human qualities.
Inscribed: "No.70 A. Lobban Esq. Chris: Brennan 24.xii.14"
In this copy Brennan has corrected the spelling of the printed word "ecstacy", in the poem "A Prelude", to "ecstasy". In Verse, 1960, however, the word remains as originally printed.
Inserted is a brief autograph letter from Brennan to Brereton, n.d. "Dear Brereton, You can inject the usual prophylactic lymph at the usual hour on the usual terms. MacCallum tells me that he thinks the Lib. has a recent bug on Teutonic mythology whom he calls 'Booker' - it sounds that way: I suppose you spell it with U as in bull and double-g to follow - can you find out for me. I'd come across only I have a job to finish for to-night and I can't resist temptations over in Lib. C.B."
At this time Brereton was Librarian at the Fisher Library of the University of Sydney.
Tipped into this copy facing title-page, is original signed etching; portrait of Brennan by Sir Lionel Lindsay.
Inserted: Autograph letter from Brennan to Lionel Lindsay, n.d. but dated in pencil by L.L. as "August 1914".
Brennan writes from Mosman, dating his letter 5 January 1914, instead of 1915. He made this mistake with a number of his presentation copies of Poems, dating them back into 1914, when they were presented early in 1915.
In quarter-leather folder, together with other relevant material. Included is copy of very long letter from Brennan to A.G.S., 16 February 1916. Brennan replies to criticism of his verses by Arthur Adams, and Dowell O'Reilly. "...you and Dowell are good chaps blokes coves and whatnot, and add considerably to the human good-fellowship of this varied hash called life - whereof I mean to have many a plateful yet: it's a good mixed feeding. [C.B. was a reader of Kipling and probably took this phrase from the author, as he did also for Burden of Tyre which echoes Kipling in places.] As for myself, I won't say I'm a good chap, but anyway I'm going to stick alongside 'good old Mallarmé. And Lionel Lindsay is the best of us all...as for Arthur Adams, he means well: he'd be a lady if he could...I'm here working at the first of three works in scholarship with which I mean to prove Dowell right. It is the season of harvest. And after that - at the ripe age of 45...I'm going to fly in the face of physiology and A.G.S. starting at the point where my climb left off (guess!) carry the banner with the strange device into Poems: Second Series: and you must be alive and there..."
Ordinary edition. Grey boards. Linen spine. Sq. 8vo. Portrait of Brennan by Sir Lionel Lindsay, who also etched the device upon cover. Two copies.
Inscribed on end paper "Dear Harry, G.R. [George Robertson] collared me one day and said I must draw Chris, for the 'Chant'. I had flu at "the time and in no state to draw, but I got Chris, along to Norwich Chambers and as usual he could never sit still. I told him he must. 'Give me that nude to look at', he said (a small oil by Mahony) and that kept him quiet. Lionel Lindsay."
Inserted: Autograph letter from Philip Lindsay to his brother Jack, n.d. Written at the time he was preparing a book about contemporary Australian poetry. "...I agree about Brennan being a great poet, but he wrote a hell of a lot of muck. I remember some years ago picking up a volume in the Charing Cross Road, and it was quite unreadable...a collection of war poems, with lines here and there, but frightfully sluggish. Nevertheless he had greatness in him, and had he been in any other country might have developed into a genius..." He then outlines the plan for his book and the various poets about whom he proposes to write. "...When they're done I'm going to expand them into a fat book and then Brennan'll get the space he deserves..."
Inserted: Autograph letter from Brennan to Lionel Lindsay, written from Mosman, but undated. "Dear Lionel, I hope you won't think it shabby of me if after all I put you off for next Saturday." Brennan then explains that due to household storms he allowed himself to be betrayed into behavior which he doesn't think right for him. He has the feeling that it will be best for him to dwell within himself and see no-one for a week "so that the disturbed waters may grow smooth again. You will understand, Thine ever, C.B."
Limited issue of 50 copies on larger hand-made paper, numbered and signed by the author. In boards similar to ordinary edition, with device on cover. Parchment spine, with lettering in gilt. The cover, dust-jacket and title-page all agree; the reading being A Chant of Doom. Three copies.
No. 13. Inscribed by George Robertson: "Mr Shenstone with the publisher's compliments". Inserted: Autograph letter from Mary Gilmore to Hugh McCrae, 3 September 1946, 2pp. She writes of a visit to her from a mutual acquaintance, in badly intoxicated condition, and of her unpleasant experience. Continues: "But what a tragic waste of good material...What a contrast to Chris. Brennan, in that. I never heard one foul or dirty word from Brennan, yet he could be as drunk as this man. But he had a mind that soared. A man who roomed next door to Brennan said that, and that night after night he would wake up and hear Brennan all night reciting poetry to himself..." Then follows a long reference to Louis Stone, and the report that he had called C.J. Dennis a "scoundrel" for plagiarising his work. This was refuted by Mrs Stone, and when Mary Gilmore suggested that she should publicly correct the statement, Mrs Stone replied, "No, they are all dead now, and will not feel it". A long and interesting letter, in Mary Gilmore's ebullient style.
No.20. Inscribed by George Robertson: "To J. Le Gay Brereton Esq., with the publishers compliments". Inserted: Autograph letter from Brennan to Brereton. >Brereton has dated this letter as received on 16 October 1912.
No.32. Inscribed: "For Geoffrey Bennett at Greenwich, 9.v.1924, Chris: Brennan". Inserted in this copy is a series of biographical notes, 3pp, upon Brennan, written by his brother Philip, to whom this volume was dedicated. Philip Brennan was a sergeant in the 2nd Australian Machine-gun Battalion, of the first A.I.F. Philip gives some details of his brother's life and of his last days in the Lewisham Hospital. With this is letter from Philip Brennan to H.F.C., sending the script.
Brennan's reading of the German Hymn of Hate provoked him to the composition of this series of war poems. In a manuscript in this collection Lionel Lindsay writes: "I remember during the First World War when the 'Hymn of Hate' was much advertised Chris, telling me that he could not get the original, and had translated the Translation into German. Then with high disdain: 'And my German was better than the original', which he had just received." Brennan always regretted that he had never been in France and once told Lionel Lindsay: "In Germany you are a cipher; a number, not a man!"
Geoffrey Bennett was a Sydney journalist. He was once in possession of the letters written by Mallarmé to Brennan - present whereabouts unknown. Brennan presented his friend with an inscribed copy of Poems 1913. In May 1964 it was, together with other Brennan material, sold by auction at Sotheby's Limited, London. It was purchased by Maggs Brothers for £10.10.0 (sterling), possibly for the Mitchell Library.
Note: In this limited edition Brennan made minor changes in the text. One line of each of the poems, "Kitchener" and "Doom", have been altered, and in the final poem, a lower-case letter has been changed into a capital.
Published by Australian Limited Editions Society. Sydney, 1938
Quarter-leather. Canvas sides. Decorations on cover and in the text. Limited to 500 numbered copies, signed by Douglas Annand,who supplied the decorations, and Alan Baker, who designed the book. J.J. Quinn selected the poems, and also wrote the foreword. Three copies.
No.159. Inserted is autograph letter from Brennan to A.G. Stephens, 2pp, 4to. Dated by the latter 12.7.01.
Brennan commences by informing A.G.S. "under the seal of confession", that there are three billets to be filled at the library. A competitive examination has been held, at which three papers were set; on the subjects of cataloguing, bibliographical matters, and library economy. "Results unknown. I fear and tremble as I tell you this."
Brennan continues that he has long been considering a descent upon the coffers of the Bulletin and sends along some verse. "I can't call "it anything else than The Circle of the Year, but that is misleading. I suppose it's plain to the naked eye that it's symbolic, so, in that case, please remember that it's meaning is not what you think (that's just the essential of all symbolic poetry!). This piece has broken out into that rash of corrections which afflicts all verses just being sent to press...So, in the improbable event of it's suiting you (for no amount of re-handling can get rid of the factitiousnesses [!] which disgust me in it) I would beg to have the proof by me for a week...But these things are on the knees of - A.G.S. I have other things to send you later which are better - as bits of verse...Thine, C.B."
In a postscript Brennan writes: "There is an enormous amount of sack in this letter to a ha'porth of the bread you ask'd for."
A.G.S. has made some annotations on this letter, wondering whether or not the billets have been filled, also if Brennan may have some poetry for sale.
"Dear A.G.S. Excuse delay: the 17th brought us a new daughter and things - including my head - have been topsy-turvy. I am sorry to hear of Mrs Stephens' illness." Then an offer by Brennan to care for some of A.G.'s books, and their case, after he moves into the new house at Mosman, is followed by mention of an "Ignotus-bloke", who wants work to aid him in the "futile amusement of applying to our living prosody the terms applied to a dead prosody by grammarians who had lost - or rather never had the sense of it". Reference to a Sailor's Chant, quoted by A.G.S. which reminds Brennan of an ancient drinking song used by students in a modified form. Brennan quotes the refrain, and offers his own improvement thereon: "Then bring me six whiskies and sodas / (or other drink that suits the metre) / and set them all down in a row / and bring me six jolly good drinkers / to drink to the buffers below. / (dubitatur sitne legendum utrobique b-gg-r). The over-the-wold chap got hold of a fine rhythm - I doubt whether his own: surely a man with such rhythmical invention ought to write better on the whole. Thine, C.B."
In this script the last line commences, "With the stars..."; a slight variant from the final printed version. In one of Brennan's early drafts of "The Wanderer", he placed this poem as the first of the series.
First Edition. Privately printed in an edition of 300 numbered and signed copies, of which 250 were for sale.
Blue cloth. 4to. Device in gilt on cover. Two portraits of Brennan, by Sir Lionel Lindsay: an original numbered and signed etching as frontispiece, and reproduction from a line drawing, tipped into the text. Six pages of facsimiles from the original manuscript reproduced in colour. Foreword, and note on the portraits, by H.F.C. Four copies.
No. 3. Inserted: Autograph letter from Sir Lionel Lindsay to H.F.C., December 1953. Included also is the artist's original pen drawing for the portrait of Brennan tipped into the text of this book.
No. 1, of 2 copies in trial binding. Blue cloth, with the device on cover in white. Spine unlettered. With portraits. Inserted: Autograph letter from Norman Lindsay to H.F.C., n.d. [December 1953]
No. 2, of 2 copies in trial binding. Inserted: Two autograph letters to me from Will H. Ogilvie, to whom I had sent a copy of the first edition. January 25, 1954; February 12, 1954.
Note: Although known to Australian readers through his early association with the Bulletin, and his books Fair Girls and Gray Horses, and Hearts of Gold, Will H. Ogilvie is better known to British readers through his many volumes of verse. Various composers have been attracted by his poems, of which 42 have been set to music. He died in 1963, aged 93.
One of 50 copies on goatskin parchment. This special edition for presentation only, contains two original etchings; portraits of Brennan. Both etchings are signed proofs.
At the date of the compilation of this catalogue only 11 copies (including those for libraries) have been bound and presented. The bindings vary.
This copy is bound in full blue morocco. Device in gilt on cover. Inserted: Autograph letter from Hugh McCrae to H.F.C., n.d. 
Tipped into this copy is portrait in pencil drawn by Sir Lionel Lindsay. Inscribed: "To my friend, Harry Chaplin, July 1952, Lionel Lindsay. Chris. Brennan. Drawn at the Evening News Office. First essay for the plate I etched direct from C.B. and which I afterwards, in 1950, turned into a bookplate for Harry Chaplin." This pencil drawing shows Brennan looking the opposite way to the etched frontispiece, a dry-point, which was actually needled onto the plate direct from the sitter, by the artist.
Edited by A.R. Chisholm, and J.J. Quinn. Biographical introduction by A.R. Chisholm.
First edition. Blue cloth. Tall 8vo. Inserted is autograph letter from Brennan to A.G. Stephens. 1p, n.d. The first edition of this book, consisting of 2,000 copies, quickly sold out and the book has been reprinted.
First edition. Blue cloth. Tall 8vo
Inserted is autograph letter from Brennan to Brereton, 2pp, n.d. Written from Newport in 1911. Brennan's letter is of general literary interest. He makes some humorous comment upon the Lone Hand magazine, which he says he never reads: recalls his earlier association with Brereton in the "ghastly go-as-you-please of the Brookes-Souter affair of twelve years back" [Australian Magazine, 1899]; follows with some derogatory criticism of contributions by Hugh McCrae and Roderic Quinn to Lilley's Magazine, for which he predicts a doleful future; and concludes, "I must try and produce some nuggets for Lilley (taking his space limits into account) only prose nuggets look so pretentious and prose should be unpretentious. Thine, C.B."
Brennan's prediction was accurate. Lilley's Magazine appeared in June 1911 and expired after five numbers had been issued. Brennan contributed two poems. The Australian Magazine did little better than Lilley's for after six numbers appeared, it was discontinued. Both he and Brereton were largely responsible for its appearance. The criticism is hardly fair, for the production compared more than favourably with others of the time and purpose. It was very representative of contemporary writing and was well illustrated.
Autograph manuscript. 6pp. A fine specimen of Brennan's "exhibition" writing. Designed by him as a showpiece, and specially bound by him in brown paper wrappers. Titled on front, with a device drawn upon back cover.
In full leather binding. Inserted is a clipping from Southerly, November, 1950, of the text of a variant version of the poem, printed from another script in the Mitchell Library, under the title "Marine". It has been included so that a comparison may be made of the variant texts.
As with the Mitchell script, there is not one single mark of punctuation from the beginning to the end of the poem. Upon the half-title Brennan has written: "Berlin September 1893 to March 1894". On the last page is written: "June 1894 written at sea revised March 29 1898". The manuscript demonstrates Brennan's dislike for punctuation, and his dictum that it "is a curse".
The title for this poem echoes Mallarmé's "Brise Marine".
Autograph manuscript. 4pp . Accompanying the manuscript is autograph letter from the late Hugh Wright in which he describes the circumstances under which the poem was written: "The 'Pocket Musicopoematographoscope' was composed by Chris. Brennan in the Public Library of N.S.W. in 1897, and was to convey a message to his intimate friend Dowell O'Reilly saying 'See you tomorrow old fellow'...About that time Brennan was fond of classical music, and in sonatas and symphonies composers usually opened with a few notes which formed the theme of the first movement and then they went into "side lines, and kept bringing in the main theme in varied form - some chaps say 'they worry the tune'. Well Brennan's opening theme is 'C.U.', then he laughs up his sleeve, and jibes...and chuckling says, 'but it ain't, it ain't'. 'Will never come' is 'tomorrow', and so the message unravels itself. Hugh Wright, December 11. 1944."
The manuscript has not been published. Preserved in folding case.
Autograph manuscript. 9pp. Signed and dated, 29 June 1898
This essay, untitled by the author, was published on the Red Page of the Bulletin, 5 November 1898. It was the first of three essays grouped by A.G. Stephens under the heading, "Was Mallarmé a Great Poet?" Brennan claims that he was.
It has been written by Brennan upon the blank reverse of sheets from the old catalogue of the Public Library. Apparently he was working on the preparation of a new catalogue, for these sheets are heavily annotated with notes and revisions, all in his most minute script.
Accompanying the manuscript is autograph letter from the author to A.G. Stephens, written when he was preparing a second essay on Mallarmé. "...This Mallarmé article is long - perhaps with trans. longer than Rimbaud. But this time (I think) there is no beating about the bush. I have spared no trouble to make what I think clear and brief. I have even hunted with remorseless pen, for redundant syllables...for there's no other man about whom I can have so much to say..." A.G.S. has dated this letter 8.9.99, which agrees approximately with the time of the appearance of this second essay in the Bulletin.
In full leather binding, accompanied by the clippings from the Bulletin of the two other essays on Mallarmé. Other material of interest is also included, also copies of letters written by Brennan to A.G.S., which are devoted largely to discussion about Mallarmé.
In another letter Brennan quotes lines from Mallarmé, which he confesses he is unable to translate.
Autograph manuscripts of the following sonnets.
1. "Red autumn in Valvins around thy bed"
2. "What tho' the outer day be brazen-rude"
3. "No emerald spring, no royal autumn red"
(At the foot of this manuscript Brennan has written:"Put these into 'Shadow of Lilith' after 'She listens by the sources' which forms an epigraph for the section, as 'Birds' does for 'Twilight of Disquietude' and the 'Royal hour' shall for the 'Labour of Night'. All sections are being enlarged.")
4. "O faded star, fall'n flower, O god deceas'd"
5. "O sunk in surge of purple, it is told"
The texts of these manuscripts differ slightly from the versions printed in Verse, 1960. The final sonnet has been signed by Brennan.
The verso of No. 5 is annotated by Brennan: "Dear Mr Stephens, Some sonnets here - I have been trying the form lately. I have translated some of Nietzsche's poems (the Dionysus - Dithyrambs or Songs of Zarathustra): shall I send? Also: could you do with a paper on Henri de Régnier, Yours, C.B."
Alongside is further memo to Brereton: "Sent to Stephens after volcanism about Tennyson, etc. Return'd after weeks delay with dry intimation 'I return the sonnets regretting that they cannot be utilized for the B', and no answer concerning the other matter offer'd. In any case he spares me the labour of copying out again for you - I am so lazy. C.B."
Autograph manuscript. 2pp only. The concluding portion of Brennan's essay, "The Lazaretto of Romanticism: Charles Baudelaire", which appeared in the Bookfellow, April 1899.
Written upon the blank reverse of sheet from the library catalogue. Many of Brennan's notes thereon, one of which alongside the subject heading Eternal Punishment, is "Hell?". The interrogation mark indicated that Brennan had some reservations on the matter.
This script contains Brennan's translation of poem, "Recuillement", as it was printed in the magazine. Later he wrote another essay upon Baudelaire, which appeared in the Bookfellow, published by A.G.Stephens, in February 1920. In this essay Brennan slightly revised the poem, there being a minor variation in the final lines. As both essays were included in Prose, 1962 the variant texts can be compared. Upon the verso of his script Brennan has written a short note to A.G.S. He refers to a portrait of Coppee, by Vallatton, which he suggests might do for his "Parnasse" article, and offers also, to send some caricatures. The portrait Brennan described was printed by A.G.S. in the Bookfellow, May 1899.
The manuscript is tipped into quarter-leather folder, together with 2 original etchings of Baudelaire by Manet. One is a full face portrait; the other depicts the poet in profile, slightly caricatured. Both are superb prints.
Also with the above is: Charles Baudelaire: by Felie Gautier. The rare supplement to La Plume, 1903. 95pp, tall 8vo. Illustrated with portraits of Baudelaire, reproductions of his drawings, and manuscripts in facsimile. Originally A.G. Stephen's copy, bound in his customary green silk cloth. Later the property of Lionel Lindsay, with his name on end paper, accompanied by some comments upon A.G.S. and notes written in French.
Tipped into this book is autograph letter from Lionel Lindsay to Hugh McCrae, 2pp. n.d. 
Autograph manuscript. 8pp.
This essay, written upon sheets of varying sizes, appeared in the Bulletin, 1 July 1899. There are some annotations upon the script by A.G.S., including an exhortation to the printer to "follow copy except for the short &'s". The critic, who was an inveterate meddler with the work of most of the Bulletin writers, never presumed to edit Brennan, and always followed his copy exactly as written.
Accompanying this manuscript is autograph letter from Brennan to A.G.S., dated by the latter, 22 June 1899. A 4pp. letter upon a variety of subjects.
Bound in full-leather folder. Many clippings of Verlaine interest inserted. Some pages from the catalogue of a London bookseller (1963) indicate the present-day value of Verlaine manuscripts. Six poems from Dedicaces, one poem from Invectives, and a four page letter relating to these poems, all bound together in full-morocco album, are offered at £420.
Autograph manuscript. 2pp. 4to
The poem, "The forest hides it's horrors, as the sea:" Some foxing on the sheets and indications of its being a very early draft. Minor variations from the text printed in Verse, 1960.
In quarter-leather folder, together with autograph letter from Brereton to O'Reilly, 4pp, 8vo, n.d.
Accompanying the above are 2 autograph letters from O'Reilly to Brereton, 3pp, November 1913. O'Reilly complains very bitterly about Brennan's conduct towards him. He speaks of the earlier days of their friendship, and that Brennan then encouraged him with his verses. Now he finds Brennan changed, not so much to him personally but to his work at which he loses no chance to sneer. O'Reilly is hurt by Brennan's "clumsy ridicule". One incident related by O'Reilly reveals Brennan as a not very acute critic and easily fooled by lines wrongly attributed. Although O'Reilly writes with great feeling, the breach was only temporary. Included also is autograph letter from Brennan to Lionel Lindsay. Written from Mosman, not dated.
Note. "The Bush and - Smith" was a short story by Brereton, published in the Australian Magazine, April 1899.
Autograph manuscript. 13pp.
Written on the reverse of sheets from the Library catalogue. Unsigned by the author but A.G.S. preparing the essay for publication in the Bulletin, 21 October 1899, added Brennan's name at the end, in pencil.
This text varies in detail from that printed in Prose, 1962. One line, written by Brennan as "his casque burdened with an obscene fowl", has been printed to read "obscure fowl". A poem of 8 lines in the manuscript has been cancelled through by the author and is omitted. There are many emendations by the author. At the end is memo to A.G.S. "Have you Vielé Griffin's Phocas le Jardinière? I haven't - he's my next article."
Accompanying is short autograph note to A.G.S. "Never had a Hérédia. But that's no reason why you shouldn't be obliged. Don't let any see this copy while you have it - I don't know whether I'd be hanged, drawn and quartered, or not. Sorry I missed you t'other day, I had it waiting for you then, C.B."*
In half-leather binding, together with autograph manuscript by Mary Gilmore: a translation of de Régnier's poem, "Autumn Twilight".
Autograph manuscript. 2pp. 8vo.
A poem of 26 lines. The script is headed: Nihil Obstat Dom X.Y.Z. Censor Imprimatur + C.J.Card. B.
The text of this poem has been printed in Southerly, No. 3, 1963, taken from a copy in the Mitchell Library. The poem was written by Brennan in the form of a note to A.G. Stephens, and is dated 13 June 1900. It was prompted by a set of verses, "The Symbolist", written by Dowell O'Reilly, but published anonymously on the Red Page of the Bulletin, 30 June 1900.
At the end of Brennan's poem is a memo to A.G.S. "P.S.- Not for publication, it's a kind of poetry that one can 'understand' - at least D (i.e. Discipulus - quondam - Cyri) can. We have been intending to ax you up this long time, but uninvited guests have driven us crazy and we're going to take a long rest. Then we hope to see you - and Mrs Stephens? Tuesday's one cf my busy nights, else I had come, Thine, Brown." Note that in signing off as "Brown". Brennan was keeping in character, for "The Symbolist" in O'Reilly's poem was "Cyrus Brown".
In quarter-leather binder. Accompanying is autograph letter from Brennan to Lionel Lindsay, written from Newport, 20 August 1916: "Dear Lionel, I have owed you a letter a deuce of a time: but I was always hoping to meet you at Casuals. Then I was busy and next I was ill: still am, my head is singing, seething, and spinning with neuralgia. Generally a limp rag...The Uni. women are busy with some patriotic fete...Forgive brevity, Ever thine, C.B."
[Note. Brennan suffered for many years from inflammatory symptoms of his maxillary sinus, and in 1918 it was necessary to take surgical treatment for the condition.]
Brennan appeared at the Fete impersonating Cardinal Wolsey. In his voluminous robes he made an imposing and authoritative figure. The artist made a fine drawing of his friend in costume, a photoprint of which is included in the folder. It is annotated: "I did this for a University Fete. C.B. as Cardinal Wolsey, L.L." Writing to me about this drawing the artist commented upon Brennan's fitness for the part: "...He had all the qualifications, including appetite, and the simple urges of the flesh..."
Headed by Brennan, "Friday", after which A.G.S. has added "January 1901".
This letter is tipped into a copy of Poems by Oscar Wilde. Elkin Mathews & John Lane, London. 1892 Author's edition. No.52 of edition limited to 220 numbered copies on hand-made paper, signed by Wilde. Original cloth. Cr. 8vo. Extra gilt to an elaborate design on front and back cover, by Charles Ricketts. Gilt top. Uncut. Wilde's signature is characteristically flamboyant, making this handsome edition a fine piece for the collector.
The previous owner of this book also noted Panthea, and has lightly under-scored several passages in the poem, with pencil markings.
Three manuscripts. All written upon the large sheets used by Brennan for so much of his early writing.
Manuscript. 5pp. Probably at the time it was written, a completed text. The final page is initialled and dated September 15. 1901. The poem was copied out for J. Le Gay Brereton.
The title is at top of first page, "The Wanderer". The stanzas are numbered consecutively from "I" to "VIII". The first of these, however, is represented by one line only: "I am driven everywhere from a clinging home, etc."
The stanzas vary in length. Numbers "I" and "III" conform, with minor variations, to those of the final printing. The remainder are entirely different. Including the single line representing the first stanza, this version of the poem has a total length of only 84 lines. In full-leather binder.
(1) Proof sheets of Poems, 1913, upon the verso of one of which is memo in pencil by Brennan: "These (book and printed sheets) to Prof. Holme w. compliments of C.B."
One of these sheets is portion of the Index, printing the first lines of The Wanderer section. No.87 reads: "Daily I see the long ships coming into port". But in the text in this volume, as also in the first printing of the poem in Hermes, the line commences: "Each day..."
It is strange that Brennan did not correct this when he checked the proofs: perhaps he had unconsciously in his mind the earlier text, as it appears in the manuscript No.47 of this group.
(2) Early photograph of Brennan. Photograph of school group, in which amongst the scholars are Brennan and Roderic Quinn. Photographic reproduction of the Honour Board at Riverview College, with Brennan's name as Dux of the College in 1886.
(3) Correspondence relating to the purchase by H.F.C. of certain Brennan, and Lawson material, manuscripts, letters, etc., from the late Mrs Winifred Brereton. Letter on this subject from the late J.K. Moir to H.F.C., with copy of reply by the latter. Other notes of interest are also included.
Manuscript. 2pp. Sheets from one of Brennan's early drafts. Three stanzas only: "When window-lights had dwindled, then I rose" "Daily I see the long ships coming into port" "How old is my heart, how old, how old is my heart".
Each stanza has textual variations from the final printing. In full-leather binder.
(1) Autograph memo by Hugh McCrae. Part of a manuscript decorated with some of his coloured drawings. "...Brennan - kicked and booted about the world - appreciated life so much that his enthusiasm often made me leap into the air. I remember him in a Woolloomooloo pub, on a scorching day, with shadows of trams crossing his face through the slats of the Venetian blinds..."
(2) Original coloured drawing of Brennan by Hal Gye (8" × 7"). The poet is depicted sitting in the "pub" with a pot of beer beside him on the bench. With captions: "The World Forgotten, Chris: Brennan 1931". "As I often saw him, and talked with him in the little bar in William Street. Hal Gye. January 1954". At the time Gye drew this sketch for me, I was not aware of the McCrae note, then in my collection. I discovered it later. It is interesting that both McCrae and Gye record similar recollections of Brennan.
(3) Magazine clipping of poem: The Wanderer: Done into Modern English by J. Le Gay Brereton". I cannot trace the source of this clipping; it was amongst various papers which came to me from Mrs Winifred Brereton. Perhaps this poem was "Englished" by Dr J. Le Gay Brereton, who, whilst conducting a busy medical practice found time to write poetry, and has four published volumes to his credit. The theme and thought content of the poem is somewhat similar to The Wanderer. The Brereton version is quite a long poem.
Manuscript. 8pp. The complete text of The Wanderer as it was published in Hermes, Jubilee Number, 1852-1902.
There is one very minor variation, possibly a printer's error. In the second line of the third stanza in Hermes an "if" which does not appear in Brennan's script has been interpolated. In full-leather binder.
(1) Original woodcut portrait of Brennan by Sir Lionel Lindsay. This was commissioned by me for a book which I was planning during 1953 but which was deferred. The copyright is my property and the woodcut may not be reproduced under any circumstances.
(2) Reproduction in colour of crayon drawing by J. Phillips of "Oceania", Brennan's old home at Newport.
Autograph manuscript. 52pp. Fcp.
A series of fifteen poems dedicated by the poet to his friend, John Le Gay Brereton, to whom he presented this manuscript. Brereton, who was a skilful book-binder, provided the script with heavy plain board covers. It is preserved in cloth case.
Brennan in designing this present for his friend,produced what might be the most beautiful example of a literary manuscript in the whole range of Australian writing. The title-page, the Greek inscription, dedication leaf, prologue, list of contents, and the poems themselves, are symmetrically set out upon the pages to achieve the greatest possible effect. The script is rubricated throughout.
It was from the text of this manuscript that the poems were published by me in 1953, with the title The Burden of Tyre. [See No.30.] The late H.M. Green, who, whilst not always right was never wrong, chose to comment on this in his book, The History of Australian Literature, 1961. He wrote: "This actually is the half-title: the title is Fifteen Poems. They were published with the title The Burden of Tyre: Fifteen Poems, in 1953."
Had Mr Green seen this manuscript he would have noted that upon his title-page Brennan has written simply, "The Burden of Tyre, 1903". Nowhere in this manuscript has he written the words "Fifteen Poems". I added these words myself, as a sub-title to the book.
Autograph manuscript. 1p. 4to.
This translation varies from that published by Brennan in Art in Australia, February 1923.
The script is headed: "For Winifred Brereton now the third of the good women who have looked after me My prelude to Vie done practically under her eyes Xmas 1922 for her 35th birthday Silvester '22* and the rest remains to be written
The text of the sonnet follows, and at its conclusion is written: "This he wrote to Vittoria Colonna, whom even dead, he did not dare to kiss. Copied at Wollombin June II 1925 Chris: Brennan."
Brennan has made no attempt to make this into a showpiece. He has written it in his "ordinary" hand-writing, which is very different from that used by him for so many of his manuscripts, and letters. Usually when writing out a poem for a friend, Brennan extended himself to produce an attractive manuscript.
The reference here is to Vie Bird, Brennan's close friend, who was killed in tragic circumstances on the night of 8 March 1925. Brennan was greatly distressed, particularly because at the time the couple had quarrelled and were estranged.
"Wollombin" was the name of the Brereton house at Mosman. In addition to visiting, Brennan had on occasion stayed there with the family. In quarter-leather folder.
Inserted is autograph letter from Mrs Winifred Brereton; a pleasant and affectionate letter to her husband, congratulating him upon his appointment to the Chair of English Literature at the University of Sydney. Brereton was absent from home when the news was announced in the papers. Mrs Brereton received the news from Mrs Bertha Lawson by telephone.
Included also is telegram of congratulation from Brennan. It is sent from Newport, 14 December 1920, and reads simply: "Hooray! Brennan".
Quarter-leather album containing various items of association interest. Pages from Hilary Lofting's autograph album, letters, photographs, etc.
(1) Page from album inscribed: "Dear Harry, Just a little item for your Brennan collection. Affectionately yours, Hugh McCrae, September 2. 1953"
(2) Page from album upon which Brennan has written a poem of 8 lines: "Old Chinese. English by Yoshio Markino: quoted from memory".
(3) Page from album upon which Brennan has written a poem in Greek. Signed: "Graece reddidit, Chris: Brennan. The Cabin, Balmoral, 2.2.1924". This is a short poem of 4 lines only. A translation into English is included.
(4) An extract of 10 pages from autograph letter by Hugh McCrae to a friend. A humorous, and at times very ribald narrative. He mentions Kenneth Mackenzie, Norman Lindsay, and gives a Rabelaisian description of his visit to a French "movie". He then continues with recollections of Hilary Lofting.
(5) Autograph drafts by Hugh McCrae, for essays, letters to friends, etc. 8pp, 8vo.
(6) Slightly torn autograph manuscript by Hilary Lofting of the poem, "The Kiss".
(7) Page from album with small drawing by Hugh McCrae, and biographical note in French, together with pseudo translation into English.
(8) Illustration from newspaper converted by McCrae into a humorous drawing for the entertainment of a friend. Below this is inscription in Greek (which is not Greek) with annotation: "Get Brennan to translate".
(9) Small photograph of Hugh McCrae, and some photographs of the interior of his "Shackan", at Camden.
Soft leather covers. All edges gilt. 8vo
Brennan's own copy: his name on end paper, "Chris: Brennan, December 18th 1894". Later presented by him to his friend R.R. Kidston and inscribed: "Roderigo, C.B. 20.viii.1928", followed by an annotation in Latin, which translates: "If one shall fall he will be supported by the other; woe to the solitary man, who when he falls will have no one to lift him up". With annotations by Brennen.
Several of Brennan's notes are dated December 1894. Some annotations are in German.
There is an interesting note by Brennan alongside the poem, "I stood tiptoe upon a little hill". He has written: "Early verse: an amiable and garrulous eagerness that is at times restless and vulgar".
Vers Et Prose: Morceaux Choisis Perrin et Cie, Paris. 1899
Canvas binding, over the original wrappers. Paper label. 8vo
Inscription on half-title by Brennan, unpunctuated: "Chris Brennan Berlin September I 1893 Sydney March 1900". Further inscription: "To F.R. Jordan Sydney September 21 1908". Sir Frederick Jordan's bookplate, a woodcut by Sir Lionel Lindsay, is inserted.
Perhaps it was a touch of nostalgia which prompted Brennan to the dating of this volume. Professor Chisholm has recorded that "on 13th September 1893, he bought from a bookseller in Berlin a copy of Mallarmé's Vers et Prose (Perrin, 3rd edition, 1893). He had this volume interleaved and copied into it all the other poems by Mallarmé that he could trace..."
The frontispiece to this volume is from a lithograph of Mallarmé drawn by Whistler. When the artist took up residence in Paris, with his newly acquired wife, he made the acquaintance of the poet. The pair became firm friends. Mallarmé attended the artist's lectures, and also translated his "Ten O'Clock". This would have been between 1897 - 1899.
Oblation Illustrations by Norman Lindsay. No imprint. n.d. 
Original brown wrappers. No.6 of 13 special copies, signed in full by the authors (A.G. Stephens and Norman Lindsay) on end paper, together with further inscription by A.G.S. "To Chris. Brennan with esteem, 8th April 1902".
Annotation on end paper: "Dear Harry, I had forgotten, but now recall on seeing the original drawing for Cito Pede why A.G.S. insisted on having the cupid re-drawn. He said I had made a phallic symbol out of the quiver. Possibly I did in all conscious ignorance. I had a hell of a time over those illustrations, none of which A.G.S. seemed to think worthy of his genius, Norman Lindsay".
Accompanying this copy is photographic reproduction of the cancelled drawing, which differs greatly from the final printing. Also a photocopy of the artist's original title-page, upon which, as agreed, the names of both A.G. Stephens and Norman Lindsay appear as authors of the book. This was rejected by A.G.S. and another design substituted but the original is a much more forceful drawing.
Only in the issue of 13 copies is the Villon poem printed in full. In all other issues nineteen words have been replaced by asterisks. This prompted Julian Ashton to write a satirical poem, one verse of which: "Fat Ag-Gie rhyming once we heard, / Oh, fie fat Ag-Gie / Oblations at five bob was absurd / For a guinea she'd print you a nasty word, / Fie, fie, fat Ag-Gie."
The Golden Bowl Methuen & Co. London. 1903. Colonial edition. Quarter-leather. 8vo.
Brennan's copy, with his name written on first page of the text, together with other annotations. Many marginal comments by Brennan in the text, all in his most minute script. He has noted the frequent use by James of the words, "lucid" and "lucidity" and cross-indexed the repetitions.
Contes Fantastiques De Hoffmann Lavigne, Libraire-éditeur. Paris 1843
The first edition to contain the illustrations by Gavarni. Half-calf. Tall 8vo.
Brennan's copy, signed on end-paper, "Chris: Brennan, Sydney, 1909", followed by inscription: "To F.R. Jordan 28.4.22".
Brennan wrote an essay, "Hoffmann of the Tales", which was published in the Bulletin, 6 November 1924.
Diversi Colores The Chiswick Press, London. 1891
Boards. Fcp. 8vo. Limited to 500 copies, published by the author. Inscribed on title-page: "The owner of this copy Chris: Brennan: Saturday 26th October 1895".
Tipped in is page from Dr Noehden's German Grammar, which exhibits German prose in varying styles of writing, customary in Germany at time of publication. Brennan has translated one passage (in pencil) but has written it in contemporary script.
Horne was one of the "Bodley Head" poets: one of the group which included Arthur Symons, Ernest Dowson, Francis Thompson, William Watson, W.B. Yeats and others of the "Yellow Book" period, to whom, in his youth, Brennan had leanings.
A bi-lingual edition with the translation into English by Michael Heseltine.
Inscribed on title-page: "Revised and completed for Hugh McCrae by Chris: Brennan, Sydney, 1918". Brennan has pasted his name and address upon a small slip inside the front cover. At this time he was living at the Agincourt Hotel, George and Harris Streets, Sydney.
Inserted: Autograph letter from George Robertson to Hugh McCrae, 2 July 1918.
Introduction by C.H. Reilly, M.A.
Quarter-vellum boards. Two volumes. Tall 8vo.
Inscribed on end paper of first volume: "To Lionel Lindsay in joyful memory of his first visit to C.B. 3.4.1915".
Below this is further inscription: "Presented to me by Chris. Brennan on the night I dined with him alone in his Mosman home. Chris. 'did' a fish in a way of his own as piece de resistance, and with wine, and late talk, it was for me a 'memorable occasion'. L.L."
Although the pair had been intimate friends for many years prior, this records the first visit of the artist to the home of the poet.
Tipped onto the end paper of the second volume is original etching of Brennan by Lionel Lindsay. Signed and numbered as No. 19 of 26 proofs.
These Glorious Crusaders: A Contemporary Novel. Macquarie Head Press, Sydney. 
Black cloth. 8vo. Dust jacket by Neville Barker.
This novel was translated by Brennan from the original German. Erzmann, the character who gives to the novel its life and power, began as a small bagman and became a successful and wealthy secondhand bookseller. The book is a complete exposition of the methods of the trade and is a "must" for any beginner in the craft.
Tipped into this volume is short autograph note by Brennan.
A Rebours Bibliotheque-Charpentier, Paris. 1897
A.G. Stephens's copy, bound by him in his favourite green silk cloth. Paper label on spine, lettered by Norman Lindsay, with small nude figure added as decoration.
Inserted: Brief autograph letter from Brennan to A.G.S., dated by the latter 18 October 1898.
This book is marked throughout by A.G.S. and he has also made some notes on the margins.
A.G. Stephens's copy originally, and bound in green silk cloth. Paper label on spine lettered by Norman Lindsay. Some markings in the text and marginal notes by A.G.S.
Annotation on end-paper by Sir Lionel Lindsay: "Bought from A.G. Stephens. Marked by him, except Grünewald's Crucifixion, L.L." This book is accompanied by 4pp annotation by the artist upon Grünewald.
Inserted is autograph note from Brennan to A.G.S. dated by the latter, 5. July 1898.
A.G. Stephens's copy, with his name on title-page, in the usual violet ink. This is a similar edition to the Brennan copy previously noted. Bound by A.G.S. in the customary green silk cloth, over the original wrappers. The small paper label on the spine has been lettered and decorated by Norman Lindsay.
Inserted in this volume is autograph letter from Brennan to A.G.S., 2pp, dated 8 September 1898.
The Bookfellow The Bulletin Newspaper Co. Ltd. Sydney. 1899
Nos. 1 - 5. All issued. In half-morocco by Riviere, over the original wrappers preserved.
These small "magazinelets" as A.G.S. described them, vary in size, and in number of pages. They were issued in illustrated wrappers. The first two numbers sold at one penny, or six copies post free for sixpence. The three final numbers sold at threepence. The third number bore the announcement: "Sold for Love and Threepence".
Inserted: Receipt in the autograph of A.G,S. "Received from The Bulletin Newspaper Company Limited, the sum of One guinea in full payment for property and copyright in literary composition entitled 'Newer French Poetry - Rolling the Stone from the Sepulchre'." This has been signed: "Chris: Brennan, with thanks". This essay appeared in the third number of The Bookfellow. A.G.S. has added a memo: "Bonus - I Ogilvie, Bon Prime - I Quinn".
Brennan wrote to A.G.S. from the Public Library, 22 March 1899. "Dear Mr Stephens, The next article will deal with Baudelaire and (generally) the second Romantic Generation (incidentally Flaubert). You might call it the 'Lazaretto of Romanticism' if you're after such a title. Am I to understand that by 'Bonus' and 'Bon Prime' I am to stick the books in my pocket quietly? If so, much thanks. I tackle Baudelaire and Co. tonight. I can let you have the article and pictures about Monday..." This article appeared in the following number of the 'magazinelet". The title was as suggested by Brennan.
Brennan wrote to Brereton in 1899 (his letter un-dated): "I had heard a week ago that the Bulletin people had put their feet down on Stephens and demanded that he should attend to the work for which he was hired, and enjoy less posing as Literary Tonard, less communing with self and nature in the mountains (this not so bad even if I have to lose my 31/6 over it)." When publication of The Bookfellow ceased in May 1899, Brennan wrote to Dowell O'Reilly: "There goes my 31/6!" In a letter to Brereton he commented that the little paper had "gone bung", and that it was "31/6 less for the household".
The first number was an extremely frail little booklet, and must have become scarce very rapidly, for in 1903 A.G.S. was advertising on the Red Page of the Bulletin for copies.
Shaw Neilson wrote to A.G,S. 26 June 1924: "Serle was reading last night from the delightful first Bookfellow. It was too brilliant a child to live".
The Jubilee Number. Issued to Commemorate the Jubilee of the University of Sydney, 1852 - 1902.
This number contains the first printing of "The Wanderer", also an essay by Brennan, "The University and Australian Literature".
New Poems The Bookfellow, Sydney. 1927
The issue'lacking the poem "Song Without Wine", and with leaf of advertisements at end.
In full cloth, over the original wrappers preserved.
Inserted: Autograph letter from Chris: Brennan to A.G. Stephens, 1p, 6th September 1927. "Dear A.G.S. I was waiting to get hold of Shaw Neilson's work again - not having seen it now for some years. However, as you seem to be in a hurry, I send the following a-peu-près 'In Shaw Neilson's verse at its best I find delicate imagining, limpid feeling, and a pure melody - a charm of wood-notes' "I'll drop in on you again one of these times: I get too many evenings by myself...Yours ever, C.B."
This "blurb" does not sound at all like Brennan, nevertheless, A.G.S. printed it upon the advertisement leaf in this copy. [See number 71 for further reference.]
Tipped in is dictated letter from Shaw Neilson to James Devaney, 3pp, signed "J.S. Neilson" in which after comment upon various poets, he continues: "Green has I believe, lately written a life of Brennan. Brennan had indeed a wonderful mind, but A.G.S. who was a great friend of his did not seem to take his later verse very seriously. He, Brennan had a splendid ear, which some of our classic poets do not possess".
Also inserted in this book is carbon copy of a letter from A.G.S. to Brennan. 1p, 1st March 1927.
(a) Autograph manuscript. 1p. Fcp. This manuscript, extracted from Brady's note book, was written after his attendance at the Science Congress, 1898, at which Brennan read a paper. The manuscript is headed by Brady, "At Science Congress, 1898", with attached clipping from newspaper: "In mental science, Mr C.J. Brennan, M.A., read a thoughtful and erudite paper on 'Fact and Idea', which was discussed by several of the members."
Brady writes: "Chris. Brennan, clever Irish. Parents, thick, squalid, but honest Hibernian public house-keepers in Paddington, Christopher reared on the upper floor away from the fumes of the stale beer. Early developed metaphysical leanings. At the age of (abt) 19 told me that R. Catholicism was all bunkum, but he continued to go to Mass with his mother every Sunday and partook of the Eucharist over which he cracked biological jokes. A devoted follower at this time of Herbert Spencer, he yet pretended to be a devout Roman Catholic. One of the most intellectual and reasoning frauds I have ever encountered. Met him recently in a book store. Spoke to him because the rim of his straw hat was gone and he looked seedy. Treated me with the manner of high-class ecclesiasticism, dignity bordering on insolence. Lank black hair, unhealthy looking creature. Billet in Public Library. Has published brown-paper covered pamphlet of Poems entitled 'At the Source', seems to be an air of Literary Brahmanism about them characteristic of Christopher. Should say Chris's motto like Jackson's to be 'Success before Principle'. Watch Christopher for developments."
(b) Autograph manuscript. 1p, 4to. This note accompanied the preceding manuscript, when I acquired it from Brady in 1950. "Chris: Brennan. This ungenerous memorandum I have just cut out of an old note book. It was written 51 years ago. Since then one has learned to regard externals as of little importance in the assessment of literary values. Too much emphasis has been placed upon the personal eccentricities of genius. One realises now that if Brennan was not in his expression, a genius of the very highest order, he was at least one "of the finest scholars Australia has produced. I cannot remember meeting him at any particular time between 1898 and 1922, when I struck him at Betsy Mueller's joint back of the Sydney Town Hall, where good spaghetti and fair wine was available. We spent (to me) a memorable evening together of which I have written in My Life's Highway. Any ill-feeling that might have arisen between us in the late nineties was entirely forgotten. Brennan had separated from his wife...He looked a real Parisian-boulevarde figure...but he was brilliant, entertaining, and comradely to the last word. I saw him again in Sydney a few times in 1926. He had lost his job at the University and was tutoring at some R. Catholic institution - a sombre Brennan this, and visibly on the way out. Vale." Signed and dated by Brady, January 1950. I had much correspondence with Brady on literary matters, and once queried him on his Brennan note. He replied: "...it was ungenerous, but at the time it was not untrue".
Brady and Brennan sat together for their Junior Public Examination in 1884, and Brady did not suffer greatly by comparison with his brilliant companion. Brady was no dunce! Later, he passed the Civil Service Examination, and in 1886 he matriculated, passing in Latin, French, Physics, Geometry and Mathematics, Algebra, English Composition, and Essay. His note, taken from the Calendar of the University of Sydney, is attached to the verso of manuscript (a).
In quarter-leather folder, together with photographs of Brady, and other material of interest, including first printing of Brennan's essay, "Fact and Idea".
Autograph letter. 6pp, 4to. Written from Springwood, not dated as usual, but received by me 15.3.51. It was written in reply to a letter of mine discussing Hugh McCrae and Chris. Brennan. The artist's letter commences with some impressions of McCrae.
Norman Lindsay's letters of 15.3.51 and 22.6.64, together with various notes and extracts, also many photographs are preserved in a quarter leather folder.
"Recollections of Chris. Brennan, and Others"
Autograph manuscript. 61pp, 4to.
In this long narrative the author recounts her impressions of Brennan and many of his friends, and contemporaries in his circle. She records in lively style much of literary and biographical interest. She highlights Brennan's human qualities, and foibles, and presents aspects of his character in a manner which is in contrast to so much of the stuffy and adulatory writing by many of his commentators.
In quarter-leather binding, together with letters from the author to H.F.C., for whom this manuscript was written.
"Rude Remarks and Passing Nods"
Autograph manuscript. 8pp, 4to.
A humorous article satirizing the work of a number of Australia's accepted poets. Brereton does not mention them by name but he parodies their poetry in such manner, that their identity is unmistakeable. Henry Lawson is cruelly lampooned, and "Banjo" Paterson receives some rough treatment. Brennan must surely be the offender in Brereton's reference to the "Obscure Sonority....it is not native to this country but is becoming acclimatized. Of course it shows a fine sense of sound, and it may be a test of skill in versification; but I do not understand it. It's grasp of thought is too strenuous, it's imaginative insight too piercing. It treads the black abyss of vacuity with no uncertain step, and wrapped in flowing robes of solemn diction, sweeps on to the outposts of the Never Was". Then follow lines which are a parody of Brennan.
In half-leather folder, together with other manuscripts by Brereton.
Chris: Brennan The Bookfellow, Sydney. 1933
Issued in wrappers in an edition of 400 copies. Frontispiece with portraits of Brennan, and facsimile of manuscript inserted in the text. Four copies.
In quarter-leather over the original wrappers. Inserted: Typewritten letter (unsigned) from A.G. Stephens to Shaw Neilson, 2pp, 5th December 1932. Inserted also is Neilson's letter in reply, written at dictation by his sister, Annie McKimm, 12th December 1932, signed "J.S. Neilson".
A.G.S. wanted this note from Neilson probably for insertion in his monograph which he was preparing, and which was advertised to appear in December. The volume was published posthumously. A.G.S. checked and corrected the proofs, but did not live to see the volume published. A copy of A.G's printed "Announcement" is tipped into this copy. He refers to himself as Brennan's "first editor", and that they were intimately associated during 35 years.
The proof sheets with A.G's corrections, together with copy No.1 of the printed book, and copies of relevant correspondence, were offered for sale at auction in London, by Sotheby's Limited, May 11, '64. They were purchased by Maggs Brothers for 20 guineas.
Quarter-leather over the original wrappers. Inserted: Autograph letter from Brennan to A.G.S. The letter is of 2pp, dated by A.G.S. 29th September 1898.
Tipped in are two telegrams from Brennan to A.G.S. both sent from Newport: one dated March 1920, reads simply, "A little yet and - Brennan". The other refers to Brennan's re-writing of certain copy, and that he is taking advantage of a holiday to complete the work.
Full cloth binding over the original wrappers. Inserted: Autograph letter from Brennan to A.G.S. The letter reproduced, in part, upon page 21 of the booklet. The letter, which is of 2pp, continues with discussion of the poetry of Henley, and concludes: "Kindly set me down for an early copy of Quinn. I'll call down and settle when I get a free moment, Yours, C.B."
Tipped in: Leaf from Brereton's pocket diary. A brief note in his very minute writing: "Brennan says the only English verse he was guilty of at school was a burlesque tragedy, dealing with a school incident, in verse modelled upon that of Paradise Lost and Cary's Dante. It was entitled - but not by the author - Harlequin King Kiss-my-arse, or The Hero of the Haunted Dyke. The ms, while going the round, was confiscated but was returned to the author. It was composed with great pains". Dated, 14 August 1903.
Quarter-leather over the original wrappers. Inserted: Autograph note in pencil from Brennan to A.G. Stephens: "To Don Alfredo Stefano. The Symbolist is fired from street to street / past rows of literary agencies / bad critics and the unending big drum beat / by crowds - Oh for a decent cheque / The C.B. / Symbolist Came / and / Left this as / a / Token / of Regard C.B."
Sketched alongside this note is rough drawing of what appears to be a sunflower, with the caption: "Tis but A Diminutive Decayed, Floral Excrescence"
The memo has been dated by A.G.S. "1901". Brennan is here making a parody of his own lines: "The yellow gas is fired from street to street" The reference to "literary agencies" is perhaps a sly poke at A.G.S. who at this time was advertising himself as "Literary Agent" upon the Red Page of the Bulletin. He was also purchasing literary material from various writers, much of which found its way into the pages of the journal.
Also tipped into this book is receipt given by Coral White to A.G. Stephens, for 25/-, being payment for the decorative drawing of "owls" for the Brennan booklet. The "owls" happen, however, to be kookaburras in the drawing.
Christopher Brennan. Angus & Robertson Ltd. Sydney. 1939
Red cloth. 8vo. >Tipped in: Short autograph poem of 8 lines by the author, signed and dated 7.9.43.
C.J. Brennan: An Essay in Values P.R. Stephensen, Sydney. 1934
Green cloth. 8vo. Tipped in: Autograph letter from the author to H.F.C. arranging time and place for meeting. Also portion of autograph draft by Hugh McCrae for letter to R.G. Howarth, with mention of Randolph Hughes and H.F.C.
Sixty Years Recollections and Impressions of A Bookseller: Christopher Brennan George B. Philip & Son. Sydney. 1939
Boards. Canvas back. 8vo. Frontispiece portrait of Brennan by Lionel Lindsay, together with illustrations in the text by E.J. Franklin, and E.A. Holloway.
Inscribed: "To Harry Chaplin with kind regards this little memento of Chris. Philip Brennan". Further inscription: "Dear Harry, I'm "afraid I can add nothing except that the reproduction of the drawing of Chris, that I made is remarkably bad, and that I made the title page for his Collected Poems (p.43). He wanted the lettering to be very simple and bold, Lionel Lindsay".
Accompanying the book are letters to Philip Brennan from the Secretary of the Commonwealth Literary Fund, October 1939, relating to the proposal for the publication of a complete edition "of the works of the late C.J. Brennan".
The collected edition appeared in two volumes: in 1960 and 1962 respectively.
In quarter-leather binding.
This number is valuable for the many good things about Brennan, by various writers. In his "Personalia", Professor R.G. Howarth writes of his meetings with Mrs Brennan, and members of the family.
(a) Autograph note by Brereton: an extract from his pocket diary, dated 10 May 1904: "Brennan is always at feud with his mother-in-law, whose defences are lamentations, and an alliance with Mrs Brennan. One excuse for dispute is the opening of certain doors at the back of the house, which he thinks should be kept shut, when he is at home, to prevent a more than half imaginary draught in his study. He told me how he demonstrated the existence of this drought by hanging on fine threads several pieces of light paper in such a way that they just reached a crack under the door. They moved. He brought his wife in triumph to see them. To his rage, she laughed and brought her mother".
(b) Two letters from R. Innes Kay to Lionel Lindsay, 4th, and 5th October 1932. He writes on behalf of the Committee informing the subscribers to the Brennan Sustenance Fund, that the poet is in the Lewisham Hospital and has not long to live, and suggesting that they may wish to visit him whilst there is yet time. In the second of the letters he announces Brennan's passing, and that he is accepting the responsibility of arranging for the burial.
(c) A.G. Stephens's own copy of his letter to Mrs Brennan informing her of her position in respect to the Pension of £1 per week, drawn by her husband since the beginning of 1931. He writes: "The Parliamentary vote "is for...families of literary men who have died poor...You have good legal right for the continuance of the pension to you." The letter is dated by A.G.S. 12 October 1932. The rate of £1 weekly was at that time the highest rate provided for.
(d) Autograph letter from Mrs A.E. Brennan to A.G. Stephens, written from Newport, 15 October 1932. "I wish to thank you for your great kindness towards me, by informing me in regards as to how I stand in relation to my late husband's literary pension. When Mr Brennan died, he left nothing, and in consequence I have no source of income. I will make application for this pension to the proper authorities without delay. Thanking you ever so much."
(e) Small photograph of Mrs Brennan.
(f) Copy of Southerly, No. 3, of 1957. "Brennan Anniversary Number".
Bound volume containing: New Perspectives on Brennan's Poetry, by G.A. Wilkes.
C.J. Brennan: Unpublished Work and Further Discussion by Randolph Hughes. Extracts from Australian Quarterly.
Christopher J. Brennan: Bibliography, By Dr G. Mackaness.
Extract from Manuscripts, No. 12.
Southerly, No.4, 1949. "Chris: Brennan Number"
Tipped in is autograph letter from Arthur Macquarie to J. Le Gay Brereton, 7th November 1915. Arthur Macquarie writes from London, where he had been doing literary work for many years. It was he, who with Henry Lawson, edited Miles Franklin's My Brilliant Career into shape for the publishers.
Inserted also are some extracts from Brereton's autograph notebook. Other extracts are some short anecdotes attributed to Brennan which Brereton has written down. These are dated in 1904.
New Perspectives on Brennan's Poetry
(Reprinted from Southerly, 1952-1953)
Quarter-leather. 58pp, 4to.
Randolph Hughes in his essay on Brennan wrote: "It is most devoutly to be hoped that no meddlesome hack or pedant will ever attempt to furnish a crib designed to give exhaustively what he misconceives to be the 'full' meaning of the more 'obscure' passages of Brennan".
The author, however, has ignored this injunction, and rejecting much previously written, has made his own research amongst the available manuscripts and letters. In his thesis Professor Wilkes, has presented, what is perhaps, the most carefully documented interpretation of Brennan's poetry, written to date.
Some readers may find certain of his conclusions difficult of acceptance. I select one, for instance: "Brennan's whole personal endeavour was to reach beyond the one life to the other, to the sphere 'radiant with love and beauty' - to recover Eden".
For my part, I cannot reconcile this concept of Brennan's metaphysic with the grossness of his life in its physical manifestations.
Inserted is an interesting autograph letter from Robert D. FitzGerald, to literary friend, 2pp, 4to, 1 November 1949. The contents are wholly concerned with Brennan's poetry. One comment: "What a lot of what he did is so turgid as to be unreadable - might be good if you had enough patience, must be good, for brief extracts are good; and what a lot strikes you as being more pretentious than good. There is still the residue that makes me still and always Brennan's admirer".
"Portrait of a Poet" - The Days and Ways of Chris: Brennan Typescript. 43pp, fcp.
A transcript of a tape recording made by John Thompson. It consists of personal recollections of many of Brennan's friends, and others who had some personal association with him.
Amongst the speakers are Sir Lionel Lindsay, Professor A.R. Chisholm, Kenneth Slessor, Walter W. Stone, J.J. Quinn, Geoffrey Bennett, H.M. Green, Dr Margaret Clarke, R.R. Kidston, Kathleen Donovan, Innes Kay, Frank Johnson, Dulcie Deamer, Janet Lindsay, the Rev. Bro. Gerard, W.E. FitzHenry, and others.
The recording has not yet been issued and is still in the archives of the A.B.C. It would require one hour and forty minutes to broadcast fully.
The typescript is bound in full cloth, together with other Brennan material, which is relevant to the contents, and letters of interest.
Christopher John Brennan: A Comprehensive Bibliography
No. 9 of "Studies in Australian Bibliography"
Quarter-leather over the original wrappers.
Tipped in are clippings of various reviews of The Burden of Tyre. These are from the Bulletin, by Douglas Stewart; Meanjin, by Professor A.R. Chisholm; Melbourne Age, by Ian Mair, and Southerly, by Robert D. Fitzgerald. Also included are pages from Manuscripts, No. 12: Bibliographical Notes by Dr George Mackaness, also extract from Southerly, giving details of Brennan material in the Mackaness collection.
The Roaring Twenties The Bodley Head, London, 1960
First edition. Original cloth. 8vo.
Inscribed: "To Harry Chaplin who is such a great enthusiast for the, period here treated, and its characters. With thanks for his help. Jack Lindsay, March '61, London".
Inserted: Original coloured drawing by Hugh McCrae, reproduced at page 108, in the book.
Christopher Brennan Extract from the Bulletin, Sydney, July 16, 1958
In quarter-leather folder, together with original print of the portrait of Brennan by Geo. W. Lambert, which was reproduced as illustration to the article. The print is annotated by James Tyrrell, as having been drawn in 1894.
In this article Professor Chisholm mentions the Casuals' Club and that the harmony of the meetings was disturbed by the disagreement between Brennan and Brereton over the 1914 War; Brennan accusing his friend of pacifism.
Inserted: Autograph letter from Brennan to Brereton, 1p, Newport, n.d. Brennan commences: "Dear Brereton, as I thought - like all men of peace you're somewhat indiscriminate in your massacres". The letter concludes, "Yours ever, C.B."
The folder contains letters from Professor Chisholm to H.F.C., mostly about The Burden of Tyre and the Collected Brennan, also reviews and extracts from various journals, all of Brennan interest.
C.J. Brennan Lansdowne Press, Melbourne. 1963
First issue with frontispiece: reproduction of etched portrait of Brennan by Sir Lionel Lindsay. A facsimile of frontispiece to The Burden of Tyre.
This reproduction was made without permission of H.F.C. and after representations were made to the publisher, the portrait was withdrawn from later issues of the booklet.
In quarter-leather binding. Tipped in: Autograph letter from Brennan to Brereton, 1p, n.d. but written from Newport.
Note: All the correspondence regarding the copyright is also included.
A small collection of typed copies of letters written between 1897-1927. A.G.S. was often compelled to sell his letters but he usually made copies of those which were significant. It is from these that the transcripts have been made. There are 38 letters; they are in varying length, some being long, others merely short friendly notes. In quarter-leather album.
Inserted is autograph letter-card from Brennan to A.G.S., 2.3.1900. "Dear Mr Stephens, 'Twas neither pride nor dignity: 'twas laziness. I had not budged - but your expiatory gift is thankfully received. I'm on with you in your plan. But I. will one be occasionally excused? 2. is Saturday the only available (-of) -by-the-majority night? Saturday-Sunday is just my good time - not that I always make use of it. O'Reilly I have seen; he will be happy to join. Brereton not seen; I don't know. He is a shy bird: I can't always get him with dinner, drink, and smoke free (not to mention other attractions...!) and he's got no cash and - a girl, Yours C.B."
Evidently a letter in reply to one by A.G.S. suggesting the formation of some regular meeting of literary personalities.
Note. Apropos of Brennan's opinion of A.G's literary ability, this collection contains copy of letter, 19 February 1920: Brennan begins: "Dear A.G.S. Charming - but I wish I could handle English prose as you do..."
"Of Old, On her Terrace at Evening"
Original aquatint. (8" × 7") A proof, signed and annotated by the artist: "Lionel Lindsay, to my friend Harry Chaplin, 'Of old, on her terrace at evening', XXI Poems, Chris: Brennan".
Accompanying is autograph letter, 2pp, 17 March 1953.
In quarter-leather folder, together with photographs of the artist, also autograph letters from Mrs Barbara Keats, and Miss Dora Toovey. [The reproduction here is by courtesy of Mr Peter Lindsay, son of the artist.]
Included also in the folder is photo-copy of the score of 'I am so deep in day', the poem originally dedicated to "Chrissie", the small daughter of a friend, Vivian Crockett.
A Brennan Bookplate: "Ex Libris Harry Chaplin" 1950
Quarter-leather binder containing: Original etching of Chris: Brennan, in profile. Signed artist's proofs, in two states. Preliminary sketch for the bookplate, with the final design.
Set of progress proofs, showing the progressive working on the etched plate, with variations in the design, making in all, four different states of the finished bookplate.
Inscription on the end paper: "When Chris wished me to make a portrait of him for the 'Poems' I made this plate, but thought it wouldn't wear an edition, and it lay in my studio sleeping, till you, my dear Harry awakened it for a bookplate. It was a pleasure to make it for you. Lionel Lindsay".
This bookplate, one of two Brennan plates made by the artist for me, originated in a suggestion that the profile etching would be an ideal basis for a bookplate. The artist in a letter replied: "It would make a rather remarkable bookplate and is a good portrait". This was written in reply to my letter sending a tentative design. Four letters from the artist are included in the folder.
Quarter-leather binder containing: Pencil portrait of Brennan in profile. Approx. 8" x 6". Signed by the artist. Further inscription: "To Harry Chaplin, Chris. Brennan. The study for the cut. This has C.B's nose, and resembles him".
Included in the folder are all the artist's progress proofs, taken at varying stages of the cutting. There are 10 in all, the final proof being upon Jap vellum.
Inscription on the end paper: "My dear Harry, This is probably my last cut, and I never dreamed of making a woodcut of Chris. until you suggested it. The drawing was made at the time I was essaying to do a frontispiece for the 'Poems'. I think it is not a bad likeness of Chris. in his prime, Lionel, Wahroonga, 1954".
Inserted is autograph letter: "Wahroonga, October 27 1953. My dear Harry, I am posting to-day the various states and the finished proofs, one on Chinese, and another on Jap thin paper. You would be surprised at the work entailed in the lowering and finishing, with always the fear of a slip, and I've been at it the last two days, and I'm really pleased with the cut, as I've kept the amiable expression and it bring back Chris. to me as much as anything I've done. I have now the meticulous job of clearing the lines "of any ink that invariably gets into them so that the electrotype will be foolproof for the printer. You would be surprised how after pulling a dozen proofs and wiping the surface between whiles how the infernal oily ink will creep until the inner lines fill up. But I'll send it along as soon as I've cleared them...I hope you will be pleased with the cut. Ever yours, with kindest regards, L.L."
A set of progress proofs. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and final states of the etching. The finished copper plate (which is in my collection) is signed: "Lionel Lindsay. Etched about 1914". The portrait is reproduced as frontispiece to this book.
In quarter-leather binder together with long series of manuscript notes by the artist. The script is of 5pp. 4to.
Other letters included are from Gerald Collier, and Meredith Atkinson, both written during the 1914-1918 War with references to the conflict. Also letters to Brereton from F. Sinclaire, editor of Melbourne Socialist and Fellowship. Sinclaire was in trouble during the War for making inflammatory speeches and was before the court for certain of his remarks.
One interesting item included in this folder is autograph poem written by Brereton during the South African War. It is not at all pacific in tone, and makes savage references to the Boers, and "Lying Botha and blood-stained De Wet", also containing exhortations to "smite the foes of Empire hip and thigh".
Other letters and photographs of relevance are included.
Etched Portraits of Chris. Brennan.
Original pencil portrait of Brennan. Approx. 9" × 7". The poet is drawn full face wearing a shirt without collar. His expression is amiable and it is an attractive portrait. The drawing is signed and annotated by the artist: "This is the most like of the three". This is one of several portraits. I suggested that "if this could be etched in reverse so that it would print with Brennan facing as he does in the portrait, it would make a fine frontispiece." The artist agreed, and made an etching but altered the shirt collar, which is opened and turned down, as Brennan liked to wear his shirts in this way.
The first three progress proofs are included in the folder, which is in quarter-leather, together with autograph letter from the artist, explaining that he has printed the proofs on Jap paper, to give the portrait a "silken effect".
Quarter-leather folder. This contains three signed artist's proofs of a dry-point, etched direct onto the zinc plate with a needle. The artist has captioned one of the proofs, to the effect that he was not satisfied with the expression, and so abandoned the project. Nevertheless, it is a very interesting variant portrait of Brennan.
Included in this folder is proof of the etched frontispiece to The Burden of Tyre. It has an annotation by the artist: "This being so light you might think it the last proof. Actually it is the first - ink too thick!" So much for first impressions, eagerly sought by print collectors.
Inserted is typed extract from a letter to me from the artist in which he discusses his etching technique. He outlines his approach to the craft, and his methods of inking and printing his plates. He stresses the difficulty and skill necessary for correct inking and wiping. He mentions that Whistler wrote once that it took him two years learning to print one of his plates.
Other items of Lindsay interest, photos, etc., are also contained in the folder.
A brochure, 4to, prepared by Thomas Dixon Pty. Ltd., Crown Street, Sydney, for the funeral of Christopher John Brennan, aged 36 years, the elder son of Chris: Brennan.
The funeral left the Parlors on Monday, 18th May, 1942 for the Eastern Suburbs Crematorium. After a service by the Rev. A.R.B. Morrisby, of the St. Matthew's Church of England, Botany, the deceased was cremated.
This is a very cheerful brochure issued as a memento of a very melancholy event. The cover is in two colours, whilst the brochure itself is held together with a brightly coloured corded silk, with tassel.
The hymns to be sung at the service are printed, also Tennyson's poem, "Why". Spaces are provided for the names of relatives and friends in attendance, also provision for brief record of the life of the deceased, and also his photograph.
Both Brennan's sons received portion of their education at Sydney Church of England Grammar School, North Sydney. They were school-mates of Kenneth Slessor, and his brother Robert.
Coloured Portraits of Brennan.
(a) A drawing 10" × 8", depicting Brennan with a background of clouds, standing with a book in his hand. With caption by the artist, "Up in the Clouds", with annotation, "Chris: Brennan in Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, in 1931. As I remember him, Hal Gye, January 1954".
(b) A drawing 8" x 7", with caption by the artist, "A MEMORY, Yarning to children at the back of Tusculum, 1931, Brennan the Patriarch, Hal Gye". The children are playing on a heap of sand, whilst the poet stands talking to them with a book in his hand.
In quarter-leather folder together with typescript of an article by Dora Wilcox, published under the pen-name "Corona": Large Sized Men. The author relates her conversation with Brennan after a chance meeting in Darlinghurst, and draws an effective pen-portrait. It appeared in Southerly, No. 1, 1939.
Tartarin De Tarascon Ginn & Co. New York, 1914
Original cloth. Fcp. 8vo.
A text for high-school students. Anna Brennan's copy with a few pencilled notes therein, and her full name, "Anna Helena Brennan", written on front end paper. Tipped on the rear end papers is a column length article which she wrote for the Bulletin, 17 April 1924, "Psycho-Analysis and Youth": an attack on the theories of Sigmund Freud.
Inserted is folding Menu Card for dinner at Paris House, Sydney, February 25th 1920. Embossed upon front cover is a horse-shoe, with the initials, "E.B." and "C.B." printed above and below. The card is autographed by Chris: Brennan, Elisabeth Brennan, Samuel Bowen, Anna Brennan, Winifred Bowen, Charles Johnson, Mrs E. Bowen, Mr C. Bowen, and Miss E. Bowen.
(a) Original etching by Sir Lionel Lindsay, "Of old, on her terrace at evening", inscribed, "To my friend Harry Chaplin, Lionel Lindsay".
(b) Reproduction in colour of Brennan's old home at Newport.
(c) Original etching by Sir Lionel Lindsay, of Brennan in profile, together with the annotation by the artist to H.F.C.: "...I looked up the Dixson list and find he hasn't got it..."
Pencil working sketch of the above for conversion to a bookplate for H.F.C., together with the first proof, showing the "s" in Ex Libris reversed, also second state with the error corrected.
(d) Etched and woodcut portraits of Brennan by Sir Lionel Lindsay.
(e) Autograph letter from Miss Esme Hadley to J. Le Gay Brereton, 4pp, 19 October 1932, entirely devoted to her friendship with Brennan, with commentary upon his death.
(f) Autograph letters to Rolf Brennan from a friend.
(g) Photo-copy of Brennan's Will, together with statement of assets and liabilities. The net amount for probate being £68.5. 6.
(h) Photo-copy of the Will of Anna Helena Gibson [Brennan] dated 13th March 1929.
(i) Typescript copies of letters from Brennan to F.S. Delmer, at Koenigsberg University, 4pp, fcp. December 1900. Much about Mallarme. "...I grant you a grain of affectation here and there, natural in a man moulding his language to a new gesture, but that affectation is the basis of his style is to me inconceivable. 'Inartistic obscurity' - well, I can only say that I understand him from one end to another and that no commentator has ever helped me; I have simply applied the corporeal understanding - as to any other writer." Another comment: "I have been reading Blake's prophecies and am now proceeding, along the track of the Gnostics, towards the East, to find a mysticism without personal God "or personal immortality, wherein to forget the vain hubbub of the West with its parochial religions, and no less parochial atheisms - Nietzsche is a parish brawler after all..." He refers to The Burden of Tyre and that it is not ready, the work of revision "demands more time and eye-sight than I have just now, but you'll get a copy as soon as it is finished". References to the home being built at Mosman, and other domestic matters. [Long and interesting letters. The copies very kindly given to me by Miss M.S. Delmer.]
(j) Original pen and ink portrait of Brennan by Sir Lionel Lindsay.
(k) Other items of interest, including photograph taken by R.G. Howarth of a friend wearing Brennan's top hat.
Contains letters by Professor A.R. Chisholm, J.J. Quinn, R.R. Kidston, Richard Pennington, John Tierney, Sir Daryl Lindsay, The Hon. Paul Hasluck, J.K. Moir, Bertram Stevens, James Devaney, and others, all relative to Brennan, and his work.
Two letters are inserted from H.H. Champion to J. Le Gay Brereton, May 1917, which relate to a poem by Furnley Maurice, "To God: from the Weary Nations". Champion asks Brereton, "I wish you would tell me (my taste can hardly pretend to distinguish at present between a yowl of anguish and a noble and dignified protest) whether the lines are in the best sense poetry or not". In another letter he writes that he has forwarded a copy of "To God" to Chris: Brennan asking him for his opinion.
The album is closely packed with extracts from journals, articles about Brennan, reviews, etc. A very extensive Brennan miscellany.