Ned Kelly’s passionate letter to the press offered a rare insight into his feelings. Ned Kelly’s Jerilderie Letter is not your standard bushranger confessional, it’s a searing document of prophecy and self-mythologisation. State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Object Name Jerilderie Letter. Object/Collection Description Only two original documents by Ned Kelly are known.
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Ken Gelder does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed ,etter relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Republish our articles for free, online or in leetter, under Creative Commons license. If you had to argue for the merits of one Australian book, one piece of writing, what would it be?
See the end of this article for information on how to get involved. In fact, it was his second attempt at writing an account of his life and times. The first — known as the Cameron Letter — was sent to a police superintendent, John Sadlier, and a local politician, Donald Cameron, in December And then, as it unfolds, it becomes apocalyptic, foreshadowing jerildderie narrative direction that the Jerilderie Letter would take soon afterwards: In the event, the Cameron Letter was never published.
So Kelly wrote a second draft and took it to Jerilderie in southern New South Wales in Februarywhere he robbed a bank and tried to give nerilderie manuscript to a local journalist. A plucky bank accountant — aptly named Letrer Living — got hold of it and took it to Melbourne. The original Jerilderie Letter was donated to the State Library of Victoria inwhere it can now be read online.
The historian Alex McDermott — who introduced the Text Publishing edition in — certainly thought so. Joyce and Kelly did indeed have their Irishness in common — and both registered their exile from the lettef. But how modernist the Jerilderie Letter might be is open to debate.
It jerilferie not be Joycean, but there may well be something proto-modernist about it. It is a petition, but the cultural work it does is far more ambitious and wide-ranging.
The case for Ned Kelly’s Jerilderie Letter
The formal opening of the Cameron Letter has been turned into this startling line:. The Jerilderie Letter looks in three directions at once; time is folded into itself and stretched open. And there is nothing contrite about the Jerilderie Letter; jerilderei the contrary, the voice of Ned Kelly is crazily defiant right to the end. The Jerilderie Letter dramatises its predicament to the point of self-mythology.
It is hyperbolic, allusive, hallucinatory. It rejects the colonial system as corrupt — police corruption goes back a jerulderie way – and thunders against injustice.
As it goes on, it builds momentum and begins to rant: Is the Jerilderie Letter a bit like poetry? In fact, the careful page-by-page, line-by-line transcription at the State Library of Victoria makes the Jerilderie Leter look very much like 56 stanzas or verses.
It is full of striking metaphors and images: The Jerilderie Letter is fond of animal imagery, and Kelly and his gang are often likened to feral or native creatures fleeing their pursuers: Movement is particularly important to the Jerilderie Letter, which begins with an account of a hapless bush hawker bogged in a swamp.
Dispersal is something that defines the bushrangers, something that binds their present moment to a glimpsed future: Howl and the Jerilderie Letter are both expressions of the predicament of someone outside the law whose vision of the world has already absorbed the cultural logic of his own incarceration and death: You have to listen to these texts precisely because the authors say so.
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Jerilderie Letter, p. 42
Is there an Australian book or piece of writing — fiction or non-fiction, contemporary or historical — you would like to make the case for? Write an article and join a growing community of more than 77, academics and researchers from 2, institutions. Available editions United States.
Ken GelderUniversity of Melbourne. Take no offence if I take the opportunity of writing a few lines to you. Ned Kelly in Wikimedia Commons And then, as it unfolds, it becomes apocalyptic, foreshadowing the narrative direction that the Jerilderie Letter would take soon afterwards: Text Publishing Joyce and Kelly did indeed have their Irishness in common — and both registered their exile from the homeland.
The formal opening of the Cameron Letter has been turned into this startling line: I wish to acquaint you with some of the occurrences of the present past future. Ned Kelly in the dock.
Wikimedia Commons Is the Jerilderie Letter a bit like poetry? I would have scattered their blood and brains like rain. Literature Books Ned Kelly The case for Help us bring facts and expertise to the public.
The Jerilderie Letter
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