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Readers of Margin may recall that the first three chapters of my biography of John Lang Australia's Larrikin Writer were published in Margin in 2002. The completed work has an additional Chapter called a prologue which was necessary because I discovered a novel by Lang published in 1 836 when he was only 19 years old and before he left Sydney for England. A number of other interesting things have also emerged to expand out knowledge of Lang's life and his works.

A number of historical books seem to be emerging. Interest in the history of the early period has attracted new writers. I recently discovered two books about the very early period, one is entitled George Howe, Australia's First Publisher and there is a review of it in this issue. The other is a fascinating biography of George Barrington the famous gentleman pickpocket called The Real George Barrington?. It was published in 2001 and 1 have just found a copy of it.

It is very difficult to keep up with the books published by small publishers. They often do not appear in the regular bookshops and if they do they are swamped by the books from the big publishers. But then that is business and it is necessary to find a way around the problem.

The newspapers seem to have taken an interest in early history from the number of articles that cover new discoveries like the lost novel of Alexander Dumas (The Three Musketeers author). There are a number of such 'lost novels' by Australia's John Lang. One called Mazarine is discussed in this issue of Margin.

There is included in this issue an article on Emily Manning another Australian born writer. Patricia Clarke wrote about her and many other early women writers in her book Pen Portraits. Women Writers and Journalists in nineteenth century Australia published in 1988. Also on the subject of women in the nineteenth century is the work of Brenda Stevens-Chambers on the women in the Victorian town of Kyneton including the famous Caroline Chisholm among others.

There is a fascinating article on Turkish Baths in Australia by Mary Reynolds with special reference to one Turkish Bath at Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. This account gives us a view of an unusual aspect of life in nineteenth century Australia.

I have also started what I call a 'John Lang page'. As readers know I have been a keen promoter of Australia's first native born novelist. New pieces of information keep emerging and I will make note of them in each issue of Margin. There is an announcement of the launch of my biography of John Lang on 15th September 2005 in the National Library. All subscribers to Margin are invited to attend if they are in Canberra at the time.

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Author:Crittenden, Victor
Publication:M A R G I N: life & letters in early Australia
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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