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For The Term Of His Natural Life
by Marcus Andrew Hislop Clarke
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Perhaps Australia's most significant and most famous 19th-century colonial novel, For the Term of His Natural Life is a narrative of great suffering-of whips, chains, and man's inhumanity. There is no attempt to soften the truth of the degradation and cruelty in convict Australia. Yet the novel is peopled with vivid characters-Rufus Dawes, condemned to transportation for a crime he did not commit, is one of the most unforgettable characters in Australian literature.
So far the appearance of the vessel differed in nowise from that of an ordinary transport. But in the waist a curious sight presented itself. It was as though one had built a cattle-pen there. At the foot of the foremast, and at the quarter-deck, a strong barricade, loop-holed and furnished with doors for ingress and egress, ran across the deck from bulwark to bulwark.
From the Publisher
Forced to conceal his identity and forego his inheritance, Rufus Dawes is unjustly implicated in his fathers murder, convicted of theft and sentenced to be transported to Australia, where he encounters the brutality of the penal system. First published as a serial in the AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL between 1870 and 1872 and in a revised, shortened form as a novel in 1874, For the Term of His Natural Life is an Australian classic, a tale of inhumanity and suffering during Australias early colonial history.
About the Author
Marcus Clarke (1846-1881), the author of For the Term of His Natural Life, was born in England and emigrated to Australia in 1863, working on a sheep station before becoming a journalist and, later, an editor. He wrote plays, short stories and essays as well as novels, but it is For the Term of His Natural Life that is regarded as his masterpiece, and as one of the most important Australian novels of the nineteenth century.
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