Peter Carey: True History of the Kelly Gang

(2064 words)
  • Bruce Woodcock (University of Hull)
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume Australian Writing and Culture.

As its title suggests, True History of the Kelly Gang professes to be an authentic historical testimony. It takes the form of thirteen “parcels” of documents, each with a bibliographical description of contents, and each with the paper and condition that might be expected of a manuscript collection in a library. The story they tell is of the life and times of the outlaw Ned Kelly. Other Australian novelists, such as Robert Drewe in Our Sunshine (1991), have dared to animate this national hero, but Carey's recreation is achieved from the inside. His aim was partly to understand what Kelly's status as national icon says about the identity of the Australian settler culture. The preliminary epigram from William …

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Woodcock, Bruce. "True History of the Kelly Gang". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002
[, accessed 30 November 2015.]