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Joseph Furphy Joseph Furphy i(A25736 works by)
Also writes as: Tom Collins ; Warrigal Jack
Born: Established: 26 Sep 1843 Yering, Yarra Glen area, Yea - Eildon - Warburton area, Melbourne Outer North, Melbourne, Victoria, ; Died: Ceased: 13 Sep 1912 Claremont, Inner Perth, Perth, Western Australia,
Gender: Male
Heritage: Irish
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Joseph Furphy was born at Yering, Victoria, in 1843, the son of Protestant Irish immigrants. Furphy was educated primarily by his mother from whom he inherited a love of literature. In 1867 he married Leonie Germaine with whom he attempted to work a selection in the Lake Cooper district. After selling the selection and purchasing a bullock team in 1873, Furphy moved to the Riverina in New South Wales and started a carting business. This business endured until the drought of 1883 drove Furphy bankrupt. He then moved his family to Shepparton, Victoria, where he began work in his brother's iron foundry.

When Furphy began submitting items to The Bulletin in 1889, his movements from place to place and the characters he met inspired his sketches and poetry. This is most evident in the work for which Furphy is best known: Such is Life. Using the pseudonym 'Tom Collins', Furphy submitted his 1 125-page manuscript to The Bulletin. A. G. Stephens, The Bulletin's literary editor, expressed his admiration, but through pressure from others, the novel was truncated before its publication in 1903. The novel sold poorly and received mixed reviews, but a growing band of readers and critics set the foundations for Such is Life to be accepted as a classic work of Australian fiction. Furphy reworked two large sections extracted before the novel's publication, but neither were published in book form during Furphy's life-time. Furphy died in Claremont, Western Australia, in 1912 after moving to join his sons who had established their own iron foundry.

Furphy's reputation continued to grow after his death. The 1940s saw the first substantial essays on Such is Life, revealing the complexity of the narrative structure and the philosophical issues Furphy addressed. The two extracted sections, Rigby's Romance and Buln Buln and the Brolga were published in unabridged form in 1946 and 1948 respectively. Since that time, the novels have attracted a great deal of commentary, further enhancing knowledge of Furphy's narrative method and his depictions of people and places in the rural areas of nineteenth century Australia. Critics widely agree that Such is Life successfully presents Furphy's description of the novel: 'temper, democratic; bias, offensively Australian'.



Most Referenced Works


  • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for Joseph Furphy.

Last amended 13 May 2015 14:25:35
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