|| xv, 272p, p of plates : ill.(incl 1 col), portraits, facsims, notes, bib., index, hbk ; 25cm.
Norman Lindsay was one of the most controversial Australians of his own or any other time. He lived for ninety years and was rarely out of the public eye for long in his adult life. An unrelenting enemy of 'the Wowsers' as he called them, he was more or less constantly at war with the puritans and their creed. Born in the old gold mining town of Creswick, Victoria in 1879, Norman Lindsay was one of a family of ten, of whom four brothers and a sister won distinction as artists. As a fine artist, he was famous for his pen drawings, etchings, oil paintings and water-colours; as a journalistic artist, for his topical cartoons and comic drawings; as a writer, for his novels and philosophical studies, a classic children's story, The Magic Pudding, and other works. He was a gifted illustrator, an able sculptor, a builder of fine ship models. Through his efforts as a pathfinder for poets and prose writers, he exercised a major influence on the growth and direction of Australian literature. Hetherington's biography is a relentlessly penetrating account of this extraordinary man's life and times, written in the spirit of Lytton Strachey;s admonition, 'Discretion is not the better part of biography'. It vividly depicts not only the central figure but his intimate associates also - his brothers Lionel and Percy, his talented sons Jack, Phil and Ray, the poets Douglas Stewart, Kenneth Slessor and Hugh McCrae, the cartoonist Will Dyson, the fiction writers Brian James, Godfrey Blunden and Brian Penton, the flamboyant commercial adventurers Hugh D. McIntosh and Randolph Bedford, and a score of others. It explores his first marriage to inept and gentle Katie Parkinson, his second marriage to Rose Soady. It also lays bear the facts of such cryptic episodes as his experiments with Spiritualism, and the evolution of the Olympian theory which governed his attitude to life. Hetherington writes of Norman Lindsay with special authority. The two were friends for many years, and in 1957 Lindsay asked Hetherington to write the biography 'when the undertaker has disposed of my carcase'; he later inserted a clause to that effect in his Will. While Norman Lindsay: the embattled Olympian is thus the expression of a pledge by the author to the subject, it is also a model of detached study and dispassionate observation. -- Inside cover.