Mary Ursula Bethell (1490 words)

  • Peter Whiteford (Victoria University of Wellington)

Born in Surrey, England, in 1874, Ursula Bethell achieved some local prominence as a poet in the 1930s, and is now acknowledged, with R. A. K. Mason, as one of the most important founding voices in modern poetry in New Zealand. Bethell’s output, like that of Mason, was relatively slight in quantitative terms, and in some respects her voice was considerably more traditional than his, but there is nevertheless some validity to the oft-repeated claim of D’Arcy Cresswell that New Zealand “wasn’t truly discovered” until she paused from her gardening to raise her eyes to the imposing mountains beyond.

Most of Bethell’s childhood was spent in New Zealand, her parents having returned there in 1876. Initially, the family …

Citation:
Whiteford, Peter. "Mary Ursula Bethell". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 July 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=400, accessed 11 December 2016.]