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کتاب Kangaroo

کتاب Kangaroo

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درباره کتاب Kangaroo

Kangaroo is an account of a visit to New South Wales by an English writer named Richard Lovat Somers, and his German wife Harriet, in the early 1920s. This appears to be semi-autobiographical, based on a three-month visit to Australia by Lawrence and his wife Frieda, in 1922. The novel includes a chapter ("Nightmare") describing the Somers' experiences in wartime Cornwall (St Columb Major), vivid descriptions of the Australian landscape, and Richard Somers' sceptical reflections on fringe politics in Sydney. Australian journalist Robert Darroch — in several articles in the late 1970s, and a 1981 book entitled D.H. Lawrence in Australia — claimed that Lawrence based Kangaroo on real people and events he witnessed in Australia. The extent to which this is true remains a matter of controversy - particularly by Joseph Davis in his 1989 "D.H. Lawrence at Thirroul"(Collins, Sydney). Davis is sympathetic to the view that "Kangaroo" may be based on real events but argues that it is impossible that Lawrence had time to meet clandestine political leaders in Sydney when he was too busy writing his novel in Thirroul. Davis feels it is more likely to have been a local south coast identity associated with Thirroul who would have provided some of the details of Lawrence's political plot. "Kangaroo" is the fictional nickname of one of Lawrence's characters, Benjamin Cooley, a prominent ex-soldier and lawyer, who is also the leader of a secretive, fascist paramilitary organisation, the "Diggers Club". Cooley fascinates Somers, but he maintains his distance from the movement itself. It has been suggested by Darroch and others that Cooley was based on Major General Charles Rosenthal, a notable World War I leader and right wing activist. It has also been alleged that Rosenthal was involved with the Old Guard, a secret anti-communist militia, set up by the Bruce government. Similarly, according to Darroch, the character of Jack Calcott — who is the Somers' neighbour in Sydney and introduces Richard Somers to Cooley — may have been based on a controversial Australian military figure, Major John Scott, who was both an associate of Rosenthal, and an Old Guard official. Another central character is Willie Struthers, a left wing activist reputed to have been based partly on Willem Siebenhaar, who made Lawrence's acquaintance in Western Australia. Kangaroo's movement, and the "great general emotion" of Kangaroo himself, do not appeal to Somers, and in this the novel begins to reflect Lawrence's own experiences during World War I. Somers also rejects the socialism of Struthers, which emphasises "generalised love". The novel is sometimes cited as an influence on the Jindyworobak movement, an Australian nationalist literary group, which emerged about a decade later. Gideon Haigh saw fit to dub it "one of the sharpest fictional visions of the country and its people". It was adapted as a film, also called Kangaroo in 1986, featuring Colin Friels as Somers, Judy Davis as Harriet and Hugh Keays-Byrne as "Kangaroo".

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Kangaroo

David Herbert Lawrence


Published: 1923
Categorie(s): Fiction, Travel writing, Biographical

About Lawrence:

David Herbert Lawrence (11 September 1885 - 2 March 1930) was an important and controversial English writer of the 20th century, whose prolific and diverse output included novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, paintings, translations, literary criticism and personal letters. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, sexuality, and instinctive behaviour. Lawrence's unsettling opinions earned him many enemies and he endured hardships, official persecution, censorship and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his "savage pilgrimage." At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as "the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation." Later, the influential Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence's fiction within the canonical "great tradition" of the English novel. He is now generally valued as a visionary thinker and a significant representative of modernism in English literature, although some feminists object to the attitudes toward women and sexuality found in his works. Source: Wikipedia

Chapter 1 TORESTIN

  A bunch of workmen were lying on the grass of the park beside Macquarie Street, in the dinner hour. It was winter, the end of May, but the sun was warm, and they lay there in shirt-sleeves, talking. Some were eating food from paper packages. They were a mixed lot—taxi-drivers, a group of builders who were putting a new inside into one of the big houses opposite, and then two men in blue overalls, some sort of mechanics. Squatting and lying on the grassy bank beside the broad tarred road where taxis and hansom cabs passed continually, they had that air of owning the city which belongs to a good Australian.

Sometimes, from the distance behind them, came the faintest squeal of singing from out of the "fortified" Conservatorium of Music. Perhaps it was one of these faintly wafted squeals that made a blue-overalled fellow look round, lifting his thick eyebrows vacantly. His eyes immediately rested on two figures approaching from the direction of the conservatorium, across the grass-lawn. One was a mature, handsome, fresh-faced woman, who might have been Russian. Her companion was a smallish man, pale-faced, with a dark beard. Both were well-dressed, and quiet, with that quiet self-possession which is almost unnatural nowadays. They looked different from other people.

A smile flitted over the face of the man in the overalls—or rather a grin. Seeing the strange, foreign-looking little man with the beard and the absent air of self-possession walking unheeding over the grass, the workman instinctively grinned. A comical-looking bloke! Perhaps a Bolshy.

The foreign-looking little stranger turned his eyes and caught the workman grinning. Half-sheepishly, the mechanic had eased round to nudge his mate to look also at the comical-looking bloke. And the bloke caught them both. They wiped the grin off their faces. Because the little bloke looked at them quite straight, so observant, and so indifferent. He saw that the mechanic had a fine face, and pleasant eyes, and that the grin was hardly more than a city habit. The man in the blue overalls looked into the distance, recovering his dignity after the encounter.

So the pair of strangers passed on, across the wide asphalt road to one of the tall houses opposite. The workman looked at the house into which they had entered.

"What d'you make of them, Dug?" asked the one in the overalls.

"Dunnow! Fritzies, most likely."

"They were talking English."

"Would be, naturally—what yer expect?"

"I don't think they were German."

"Don't yer, Jack? Mebbe they weren't then."

Dug was absolutely unconcerned. But Jack was piqued by the funny little bloke.

Unconsciously he watched the house across the road. It was a more-or-less expensive boarding-house. There appeared the foreign little bloke dumping down a gladstone bag at the top of the steps that led from the porch to the street, and the woman, the wife apparently, was coming out and dumping down a black hat-box. Then the man made another excursion into the house, and came out with another bag, which he likewise dumped down at the top of the steps. Then he had a few words with the wife, and scanned the street.

"Wants a taxi," said Jack to himself.

There were two taxis standing by the kerb near the open grassy slope of the park, opposite the tall brown houses. The foreign-looking bloke came down the steps and across the wide asphalt road to them. He looked into one, and then into the other. Both were empty. The drivers were lying on the grass smoking an after-luncheon cigar.

"Bloke wants a taxi," said Jack.

"Could ha' told YOU that," said the nearest driver. But nobody moved.

The stranger stood on the pavement beside the big, cream-coloured taxi, and looked across at the group of men on the grass. He did not want to address them.

"Want a taxi?" called Jack.

"Yes. Where are the drivers?" replied the stranger, in unmistakable English: English of the old country.

"Where d'you want to go?" called the driver of the cream-coloured taxi, without rising from the grass.

"Murdoch Street."

"Murdoch Street? What number?"

"Fifty-one."

"Neighbour of yours, Jack," said Dug, turning to his mate.

"Taking it furnished, four guineas a week," said Jack in a tone of information.

"All right," said the driver of the cream-coloured taxi, rising at last from the grass. "I'll take you."

"Go across to 120 first," said the little bloke, pointing to the house. "There's my wife and the bags. But look!" he added quickly. "You're not going to charge me a shilling each for the bags."

"What bags? Where are they?"

"There at the top of the steps."

"All right, I'll pull across and look at 'em."

The bloke walked across, and the taxi at length curved round after him. The stranger had carried his bags to the foot of the steps: two ordinary-sized gladstones, and one smallish square hat-box. There they stood against the wall. The taxi-driver poked out his head to look at them. He surveyed them steadily. The stranger stood at bay.

"Shilling apiece, them bags," said the driver laconically.

"Oh no. The tariff is three-pence," cried the stranger.

"Shilling apiece, them bags," repeated the driver. He was one of the proletariat that has learnt the uselessness of argument.

"That's not just, the tariff is threepence."

"All right, if you don't want to pay the fare, don't engage the car, that's all. Them bags is a shilling apiece."

"Very well, I don't want to pay so much."

"Oh, all right. If you don't, you won't. But they'll cost you a shilling apiece on a taxi, an' there you are."

"Then I don't want a taxi."

"Then why don't you say so. There's no harm done. I don't want to charge you for pulling across here to look at the bags. If you don't want a taxi, you don't. I suppose you know your own mind."

Thus saying he pushed off the brakes and the taxi slowly curved round on the road to resume its previous stand.

The strange little bloke and his wife stood at the foot of the steps beside the bags, looking angry. And then a hansom-cab came clock-clocking slowly along the road, also going to draw up for the dinner hour at the quiet place opposite. But the driver spied the angry couple.

"Want a cab, sir?"

"Yes, but I don't think you can get the bags on."

"How many bags?"

"Three. These three," and he kicked them with his toe, angrily.

The hansom-driver looked down from his Olympus. He was very red-faced, and a little bit humble.

"Them three? Oh yes! Easy! Easy! Get 'em on easy. Get them on easy, no trouble at all." And he clambered down from his perch, and resolved into a little red-faced man, rather beery and henpecked-looking. He stood gazing at the bags. On one was printed the name: "R.L. Somers."

"R.L. SOMERS! All right, you get in, sir and madam. You get in. Where d'you want to go? Station?"

"No. Fifty-one Murdoch Street."

"All right, all right, I'll take you. Fairish long way, but we'll be there under an hour."

Mr. Somers and his wife got into the cab. The cabby left the doors flung wide open, and piled the three bags there like a tower in front of his two fares. The hat-box was on top, almost touching the brown hairs of the horse's tail, and perching gingerly.

"If you'll keep a hand on that, now, to steady it," said the cabby.

"All right," said Somers.

The man climbed to his perch, and the hansom and the extraneous tower began to joggle away into the town. The group of workmen were still lying on the grass. But Somers did not care about them. He was safely jogging with his detested baggage to his destination.

"Aren't they VILE!" said Harriet, his wife.

"It's God's Own Country, as they always tell you," said Somers. "The hansom-man was quite nice."

"But the taxi-drivers! And the man charged you eight shillings on Saturday for what would be two shillings in London!"

"He rooked me. But there you are, in a free country, it's the man who makes you pay who is free—free to charge you what he likes, and you're forced to pay it. That's what freedom amounts to. They're free to charge, and you are forced to pay."

In which state of mind they jogged through the city, catching a glimpse from the top of a hill of the famous harbour spreading out with its many arms and legs. Or at least they saw one bay with warships and steamers lying between the houses and the wooded, bank-like shores, and they saw the centre of the harbour, and the opposite squat cliffs—the whole low wooded table-land reddened with suburbs and interrupted by the pale spaces of the many-lobed harbour. The sky had gone grey, and the low table-land into which the harbour intrudes squatted dark-looking and monotonous and sad, as if lost on the face of the earth: the same Australian atmosphere, even here within the area of huge, restless, modern Sydney, whose million inhabitants seem to slip like fishes from one side of the harbour to another.

Murdoch Street was an old sort of suburb, little squat bungalows with corrugated iron roofs, painted red. Each little bungalow was set in its own hand-breadth of ground, surrounded by a little wooden palisade fence. And there went the long street, like a child's drawing, the little square bungalows dot-dot-dot, close together and yet apart, like modern democracy, each one fenced round with a square rail fence. The street was wide, and strips of worn grass took the place of kerb-stones. The stretch of macadam in the middle seemed as forsaken as a desert, as the hansom clock-clocked along it.

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