State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 64 Spring 1999


Reed & Harris Publishers of the Avant-Garde

Reed & Harris, the alternative publishing firm based in Melbourne, was established in 1943, the product of a marriage of interests between Max Harris, editor of the Adelaide-based little magazine Angry Penguins, and Melbourne art patrons John and Sunday Reed. Sidney Nolan, also closely involved, became a partner in 1944. The new firm took on responsibility for producing an expanded Angry Penguins (and later the Angry Penguins Broadsheet) and began building a list of Reed & Harris books on subjects ranging from the Soviet Union to ballet.
So it was that, in common with similar firms internationally, Reed & Harris spanned two main forms of alternative print publication: the little magazine and the small-press book. We might assume that, taking place within the one small firm, these activities would be approached in the same way. In fact, the relationship was more complex and, at times, contradictory. There often seemed to be a distinct separation between the two, while at other moments they converged. Orchestrating these semiautonomous entities proved to be a complex task and was not always successful. And yet, in spite of these difficulties, the disjunction between Reed & Harris's book and magazine activities could often be turned to advantage in unexpected ways.
To understand this, we must first understand why the firm was set up. At the time cultural conditions in Australia were highly unusual. As one observer suggested, an ‘art war’ was being fought both across a generational divide, in which ‘the oldsters’ held ‘all the forts and vantage points’, and, just as fervently, between tightly-knit groups of generational peers, each group occupying a different art-political position.1 The prize in this conflict was the chance to set terms for high-culture activity when World War Two hostilities were over. Until then there was a sense of things being held in abeyance: this was the time, it seemed, to put a group in the best possible position for the future.
As the institutional face of one group of antagonists in this ‘art war’ (centred on Angry Penguins and the Reeds' home, ‘Heide’), Reed & Harris was not just a smalltime publisher, but rather one of the ‘committed’ independent small presses that has enjoyed, internationally, such close relations with avant-garde and modernist activity. The conditions for that special connection were created by contradictory forces which saw mainstream publishing ruled by more and more commercial considerations while, at the same time, artistic writing became more exclusively concerned with experimentation — as Sally Dennison points out.2 This meant that new works as important as Ulysses and The Waste Land had often been left with no other avenue for publication. As a result, small presses came to occupy a pivotal role in the rise of modernism.
Reed & Harris had other characteristics in common with its international avant-garde and modernist peers. Wherever it has occurred, avant-garde activity has often relied on a particular amalgam of class backgrounds. Typically, wealthy patrons of independent means have joined with artists, writers and publishers of a more ambiguous pedigree to create conditions for alternative artistic production: both of these class groupings look upon capitalism with profound ambivalence. This was exactly the case here. John Reed was the scion of a Tasmanian ‘landed’ family, and Sunday Reed, née Baillieu, was the product of one of the best-known wealthy families in Melbourne.3
Their collaborators — all in their early twenties, and thus younger than the Reeds themselves by two decades — were all in some way ‘loosened’ from their original class positions, whether by good fortune or bad. In this sense, this group corresponds to another radicalized group described by Roy Foster in another context. Of the Irish revolutionaries he says that ‘they tended to come from petit bourgeois “middling” occupational groups, frustrated in many areas of life,’ and that ‘rather than an insurrectionary peasantry or proletariat, they are nearer to Marx's idea of the declassé, or Putnams's “overeducated and underregarded outgroups” ‘.4 The younger members of the Reed & Harris formation came from just this kind of background, and had, by one way or another, arrived at a point where their class position was anomalous. Harris was a scholarship boy at St Peter's College, Adelaide, where, according to Alan Brissenden, he had to find ways of coping ‘with the difference he perceived between himself and the sons of the establishment’. This son of a rural grocer then made his way to the University of Adelaide via a stint as a copy-boy at the Adelaide News.5 Nolan and Albert Tucker, whose role in the firm I outline below, were autodidacts in their ‘higher’ education, for which long spells in the Public Library (now the State Library of Victoria) were indispensable.6 This process, and their artistic ‘vocation’, distanced Nolan from his working class origins,7 and Tucker from his uneasy background amalgam of working class roots and petit-bourgeois gentility.8 These younger men were all in a kind of class ‘transit’, displaying the kind of ambiguity of class, and social ambition, avant-gardists hold in common, but rarely acknowledge.
The relationship between Max Harris and John Reed was a classic example of this kind of alliance across a class divide. It tends to involve a kind of exchange or transaction. Harris was the ‘creative genius’, who referred to himself in letters, ironically, as ‘Harris! Australia's greatest poet!’9 Reed was all the things that go with the position of patron: the art buyer, critic, ‘lay vice-president’ of the Contemporary Art Society (C.A.S.). Despite — or perhaps because of — these differences, theirs was a close working relationship. As ‘executive’ editors, much of the daily business was arranged between them and, with Harris in Adelaide and Reed in Melbourne, this was done by post. They both read copy for the magazine, which was accepted for publication (or rejected) on the basis of their discussion.
They also wrote a good deal of material for Angry Penguins, and in this their differences of role and position were clearly reflected. Although both wrote editorials, articles, reviews and theoretical statements, Harris's tended to be more vivid and
expansive. Harris's reviews, for example, went a long way toward developing the artistic persona of the magazine by expressing preferences or making attacks on other bodies of work.10 Harris also published a large amount of poetry, which was sufficiently powerful to exert an influence on other Angry Penguins writers, and his novel, The Vegetative Eye, appeared on the Reed & Harris list.11 Reed's contributions were often statements of support for particular local writers or artists, or editorial statements co-authored with Harris. This patron-artist relationship was thrown into clear relief at those times when the Reeds provided direct financial support to Harris. This lasted until 1946, when conflicts between Harris's responsibilities to the firm and new obligations as a husband and father caused him to withdraw from the partnership.12
The other two partners also took on roles which reflected their place within this framework. Sidney Nolan was seen as the resident genius of ‘Heide’ and he, more than any other single artist, received strong support from the Reeds, particularly in the form of imported art materials, expensively acquired for his use alone.13 Within the firm, Nolan was responsible for graphic design in Angry Penguins, supplied cover art for magazines and books,14 and from number 2 onwards was an editor of the Broadsheet. Sunday Reed, whose ‘extreme shyness’ resulted in her being involved in less public ways than the others, was a key figure in setting the tone for the aesthetic preferences of the group. This was, again, consistent with her position as patron.15 Harris called her the ‘governing sensibility’ of the enterprise.16 She appears to have shared, for example, the admiration for Rimbaud that was so important to Nolan and Harris: her only attributed contribution to Angry Penguins was a cluster of translations of Rimbaud poems, published in conjunction with a ‘response’ to Rimbaud by Nolan.17
Other important personnel in the orbit of the central partnership were: Albert Tucker, another recipient of the Reed's patronage, who provided art work and important theoretical articles for Angry Penguins, later becoming its ‘sociological editor’; and Mary Martin, later a well-known bookseller herself, who did much of the leg-work of representing Reed & Harris publications to bookshops.18 Bob Cugley, proprietor of the National Press, was important as the printer of all of the firm's magazines and books. In taking on the work, Cugley shared the financial risk of publication, and in that sense he was, to an unusual degree, ‘midwife’ to Reed & Harris productions. Harris later showed his gratitude when, 40 years later, he made Cugley his ‘exemplar of the Unknown Great Australian’.19
These were the common organisational elements that ran through Reed & Harris as publishers of Angry Penguins and as small-press book publishers. The divergence between these activities hinged on the different reading publics each addressed. As publishers of Angry Penguins Reed & Harris spoke to a comparatively narrow market. Consistent with this, the firm was relatively careless about Angry Penguins sales figures. While its editors voiced anxiety over numbers of copies sold, and took steps to encourage sales through retail booksellers, these concerns never reached a point where they forced a re-ordering of priorities along more commercial lines.20 By contrast, as alternative book publishers, Reed & Harris addressed a broader audience of educated, progressive-inclined readers.
If we were to attempt a map of the Angry Penguins readership, a core group would consist of radicalised contributors to little magazines. These would share the ‘ambiguous’ class background of the Reeds’ younger collaborators. Ranged around this central, radicalised element would be an efflorescence of readers who were either sympathetic to the positions set out in the magazine, or who wanted to be conversant with the most radical artistic directions being taken in Australian writing and visual art. This part of the Angry Penguins market would overlap with the readership for Reed & Harris books, a group lying closer to ‘patrons’ than ‘radicals’. These were part of a growing middle class susceptible to modernist modes: better educated, more culturally aware as art consumers, and sympathetic to the cosmopolitanism implied across the range of Reed & Harris books. The best known of these are the Reeds themselves, their friends, H.V. Evatt and his wife Mary Alice, and the newspaper proprietor Keith Murdoch. These are the most easily identifiable figures who emerge in support of modernism, but Reed & Harris book-publishing activity suggests that behind them stood a wedge of art consumers ready to accept the fruits of modernist effort: able to buy the books and paintings then emerging, and even to proselytise on their behalf.
Angry Penguins had been started in 1940, by Harris and D.B. Kerr, as a coterie magazine, publishing a small group of undergraduate poets from the University of Adelaide. Harris was writing considerably more adventurous material than any other contributor, and his aspirations to take Angry Penguins to new heights are clear even at that time. He wanted to make Angry Penguins a truly avant-garde magazine. Several things needed attention if this were to happen: the magazine had to break out of its ‘coterie’ pattern by building a network of progressive contributors; it had to find further cultural resources to fuel its cosmopolitan inclinations; and it needed to secure another source of funding, entirely independent of the university or any other formal institution. Above all, Harris needed to find the means to project the sense of a formidable ‘group’ and a platform — of ideas and approaches to art — which could be associated with the magazine alone. Only then could it truly make claim to avant-garde status.
Contact with the Reeds certainly went a long way toward answering these needs. They provided money, an awareness of and receptivity to overseas modernist culture, access to their private library, and an already established network of cultural progressives. And, of course, the Reeds took a direct role in producing the magazine. In return, they obtained an avenue through which to air the opinions of — and publicize — the painters who had come to symbolize the stance on art they had expressed, both as art patrons and through their engagement with the C.A.S.
As a result of the compact with the Reeds, the content of Angry Penguins changed in a number of ways. Even before the partnership was formalised there were articles on C.A.S. painters, and reproductions of their work, thus pushing the magazine beyond its initial literary focus. More articles, reviews and theoretical statements appeared, thickening the ideological texture of the magazine, and further distinguishing it from its little-magazine contemporaries. It also took care to distance itself from established overseas modernist writers, insisting that it was only
concerned with new developments, thus asserting a distinct identity on another front. The group of writers it published was redefined, introducing newer voices who, together with some from the original group, formed a stronger literary persona for the magazine. In the course of these changes, Angry Penguins pushed beyond its initial debt of influence to British contemporaries, particularly the ‘Neo-Apocalyptics’, and went on to digest influences from Surrealism and Symbolism in its own particular fashion, ending up, by the time it closed down at the end of 1946, with a strengthening focus on Henry Miller, himself heavily influenced by Surrealism.
In 1943, when John Reed compared Angry Penguins with Meanjin, it was its ‘appearance of solidity and stability’ and ‘that element which [made] Meanjin formidable’ that caught his attention, rather than any urge to compare the sales figures of the two journals. He suggested that Angry Penguins should be ‘thinking in terms of attack’, making choices about what to print on the basis of ‘tactical’ considerations.21 Clearly, Angry Penguins was now to be thought of, first and foremost, as defining a group. It should be a ‘formidable’ magazine so that the group's ‘signature’ of practices and theories, and its coterie of artists and writers, could be projected into the public sphere to the best possible advantage. On the basis of this, attempts would be made to form alliances, to compete with and attack rival groups, forming a characteristic pattern of avantgardist struggle for cultural influence.

The cover of the 1943 ‘Transition Number', for which John Reed was ‘Collaborating Editor, Art Section’. The painting on the cover is by James Gleeson. La Trobe Rare Books Collection, *LT 819.905 AN5P.

Angry Penguins was a hybrid publication, which lay between two accepted formats: the magazine and the anthology. Mary Martin reported that, faced with this kind of publication, booksellers became confused about where to position it in order to attract buyers:
one … important reason for Penguins not selling … is that the shops have relegated it to the magazine section because of its size; it has thus been removed from the notice of those who are constantly picking over the pile of small books of poetry etc. Most of the magazines imported by our shops are of the big-turnover variety, and not the sort to interest potential buyers of Penguins; who therefore keep away from that section of the shop.22

Front cover of Reg Ellery's Eyes Left! La Trobe Rare Books Collection, MCP 947.084 ELSE.

This format was not entirely due to choice. Angry Penguins had been denied a periodical licence, which would have given it access to the paper resources necessary for consistent publication as a magazine proper. Such licences were necessary because paper was a strictly controlled strategic resource under wartime conditions. However, a comparison with other little magazines of the period (such as Meanjin) that were able to obtain these licences, gives emphasis to the sense of the magazine's active preference for avant-garde orientation, because Angry Penguins could, in all likelihood, have hurdled this obstacle if it had been willing to publish content of a less uncompromising inclination. At the same time, this hybrid form of publication coincided with the lead of contemporaries in Britain, the ‘Neo-Apocalyptics’ and ‘Neo-Romantics’ who produced the anthology/magazines The New Apocalypse (1939), and Transformations series (1943-1946) during the war years. Consequently, the Angry Penguins format coincided with the most avant-garde model readily to hand, despite highly ambivalent attitudes toward the content of the British publications.23
By contrast to the non-commercial orientation of the journal, in its book business Reed & Harris was concerned with sales in no uncertain terms. One of its successes was Eyes Left!, a ‘book-pamphlet’ by ‘Heide’ habitue Reg Ellery, presenting an impassioned argument in favour of Soviet socialism as a model for post-war development, written in a high-wattage polemical style:
In this hour of crisis, to think ahead, to speculate or prophesy concerning the future of mankind is a temptation which some people find impossible to resist. Thousands of pens all over the world are scratching out their ideas of social reconstruction; thousands of tongues are wagging from the pulpit and the platform and the soap box. Millions of bewildered people are arguing about life after the war; and, with Delphic assurance, the would-be social reformers have begun to plan the future.24
This appeared to find a favourable response. In reply to one order for the book John Reed buoyantly stated that the first printing of Ellery's book had sold out and that ‘after great difficulty’ the firm had ‘succeeded in getting a second printing of 20,000 copies’.25
Reed & Harris's success with Eyes Left! shows how great differences could be between the firm's little magazine and book publishing. Ellery's pamphlet would appeal to some of the firm's core readership — the thirties had left a legacy of educated middle-class readers interested in left-wing options — but the main intention here was clearly to tap a large potential readership amongst members of the Communist Party of Australia (C.P.A.) and its sympathizers. By contrast, relations between Angry Penguins and the Australian Left, in context of the ‘art war’, were often acrimonious. By this time there was already a history of difficulties, stemming from competing attempts to determine the policy direction of the C.A.S., with which John Reed, as ‘lay vice-president’, had himself been involved. The high feeling generated by these disputes was indicated when left-winger Noel Counihan, normally a polite correspondent, described Angry Penguins to party comrade Bernard Smith as ‘pretentious, callow, sophomoric, stupid, panic stricken shit’.26 More disturbing advice came from another of Smith's Party correspondents, Clif Pier, who recommended the use of ‘not too much kid glove’ in dealing with the Angry Penguins group, ‘otherwise we would be following the trail of Rapp which did so much damage in the Soviet’.27
Angry Penguins theoretical writers had made significant appropriations of Marxist theory in concocting Angry Penguins radicalism, but the Left was unhappy about this use of political material outside party discipline, Angry Penguins and left-wing views on artistic autonomy being dramatically different. The exact nature of Angry Penguins challenges to the Party line was manifested when the magazine published a series of theoretical articles by Harris and Albert Tucker, articles which the Left, given space to reply, clearly found highly provocative, thus forming another engagement in the ongoing ‘art war’.28
When it came to small-press book publishing activities, however, the Reed & Harris relations with the Left were more cordial. This was apparent not only in the publication of such titles as Ellery's Eyes Left! and Bruce Williams's The Socialist Order and Freedom, but in the orders from left-wing bookshops.28 Even as late as 1946, after the C.P.A. had joined Conservatives in persecuting Angry Penguins over the Ern Malley episode, Harris wrote to the secretary of its South Australian branch suggesting that Reed & Harris publish an edition of Marx's Anti-Duhring.29 Clearly, the firm again intended to appeal to the left-wing readership, regardless of how things stood between Angry Penguins and Left organisations. Reed & Harris was quite happy to let its magazine and book businesses have different kinds of relationship with left-wing politics, despite apparent contradictions. More than that, it seems that the ‘gap’ between Reed & Harris enterprises was itself being put to strategic advantage because these ‘contradictions’ were useful to the firm in attempts to preserve its own identity and values while working toward an accommodation with the Left.
These kinds of divergence were repeated in other spheres of Reed & Harris activities: for example, in its plans to develop ties with overseas groups engaged in similar activities. This was an important aspiration for a group for which receptivity to overseas cultural work was a central principle. Max Harris worked toward forming
an alliance with British writer Henry Treece, and when Harry Roskolenko came to Australia as a U.S. serviceman, his connections with Treece, seemingly a green light for this venture, caused some excitement.30 This was a ‘little magazine’ initiative: Reed & Harris were cultivating a relationship with another, better-known group of avant-gardists with a view to making Angry Penguins more ‘formidable’.
The discussions that John Reed and Max Harris had with British publisher Faber & Faber about developing contacts and distribution arrangements, just prior to the establishment of Reed & Harris in 1943, had a different object in view.31 As small-press book publishers, Reed & Harris were willing to contemplate a business relationship with an established (if ‘progressive’) firm in a way unthinkable for avantgardists. If the relationship with Gotham books in New York is any guide, the object in these efforts was the sale of Reed & Harris books in Britain.32 That the proposal was aimed at Faber & Faber, where T.S. Eliot was senior editor, rather than Routledge, where Angry Penguins’ object of admiration Herbert Read held the reins, gives more emphasis to the differences between the two strands of Reed & Harris activity, and shows how pragmatic imperatives could be followed by one arm of the firm without sullying the image of the other.
In Australia the contrast between the sales of Reed & Harris books and those of Angry Penguins was marked. Bookseller Mary Martin was anxious whether sufficient copies of Williams's Socialist Order and Harris's The Vegetative Eye would be available to meet demand, but was reporting about the same time that sales of Angry Penguins had ‘certainly been disappointing’.33
Max Harris's The Vegetative Eye was an attempt to take material as experimental as any in Angry Penguins, and launch it into the (relatively) broader reading market of the Reed & Harris list. Its marrying of elements of exotic narrative with an Australian setting and dialect encapsulated, in many ways, the Angry Penguins project. In this sense, the novel formed a point of convergence between Angry Penguins and the Reed & Harris book business. The Vegetative Eye made great demands on its readership; and even today it is probably one of the most demanding novels yet published in Australia. The narrative fabric of the novel is difficult, made up of fragments of autobiographical, polemical and discursive material, and a heavily-taxed narrative thread placing events in rural Australia. There are recurrent references to Baudelaire and the Bahai faith, and setting large blocks of text in upper-case and bold hasn't made things any easier. Tonal values move between dark and larrikin humour, Kafkaesque anxiety, and Joycean accounts of bodily experience. In the process of combining these elements, Harris included a good deal of material that would have been disallowed by a strong editor: Harris needed an Ezra Pound!34
Although The Vegetative Eye was received unfavourably, A.D. Hope's vitriolic review in Meanjin being the most damning, it continued to be seen from within the firm as a tour de force of Australian literary modernism.35 To one Angry Penguins contributor, Geoffrey Dutton, Reed expressed his ‘surprise’ that ‘its reception seems to be fairly mixed among the intelligentsia’, and observed: ‘Most people are anxious to
find fault with it first and foremost, and only to admit afterwards, and begrudgingly, that it may be a remarkable piece of literature’.36
Angry Penguins published a colloquium on the novel, aiming to stir up interest, but even Dutton remained unconvinced of the novel's finer qualities. In spite of these disappointments, Reed gave a positive response when Harris sent news of beginning work on another novel ‘at present with the unsatisfactory Halle-Cainish title of “Sin” ’.37 There seemed to be little recognition amongst the Reed & Harris partners that getting the Reed & Harris list to do the work of Angry Penguins wasn't, in this instance, working well.
In spite of this misjudgment, happier outcomes, combining the two businesses of Reed & Harris, were still possible. One option would have been for Reed & Harris to publish a book on Australian art. Through this, the group would have a chance to publicise the group's artists (Nolan, Tucker, and some other appropriated painters) and to disseminate further its art-political viewpoint. Few books on Australian art had been published during the early decades of the century, and little had appeared to reflect the new developments which had been emerging in the thirties and forties. This was a situation in which the Angry Penguins/‘Heide’ group could take the initiative, and with a potential for commercial success. An enthusiastic Ivor Francis suggested this to John Reed:
What I should now like to see you embark upon would be a really first-class volume on Australian art, from its beginnings right up to the last minute. One can just visualize the Nolans, — all in full colour!!38
Reed's reply had the air of taking bad news on the chin. It seemed that the firm had been beaten to it by left-wing art scholar Bernard Smith:
It is curious that you should mention an Australian art book, as I have just heard that one is in course of being published in Sydney. Bernard Smith is the author, and I understand it is fairly comprehensive, though unfortunately there are not likely to be any Nolans in it. It is a pity he has beaten us to it, but we can't expect to have everything our own way.39
This new book, published in 1945, was Place, Taste and Tradition: A Study of Australian Art Since 1788, a landmark work which did indeed set terms for the post-war study of Australian art. This confirms, in hindsight, that the forties ‘art war’ was actually worth fighting.
Smith had stolen a march on the Angry Penguins group, but the situation was not beyond repair. There is reason to believe that the market could have supported more than one such book at the time. Mary Martin had reported an ‘insatiable’ demand for ‘that sort of thing, and for art books generally’, while Ivor Francis described the local market for art books as ‘a veritable racket’.41 Reed & Harris geared up to meet the challenge, advertising a forthcoming title on the subject, Australia's Modern Romantic Painters. This was to be written by Harris, was clearly designed as a riposte to Smith, and would give better coverage of Angry Penguins’ painters, but the book never appeared. In ‘tactical’ terms the non-appearance of the book was a significant failure
in the Reed & Harris campaign: the subsequent discursive power of Smith's book shows of what order.
Why Reed & Harris did not pursue such a project remains open to speculation, but it is likely that the difficulties the firm was experiencing in coordinating its two strands of publishing activity were an important factor. There were already many claims on Harris's attention, for example, and on the Reed's private purse. Reed & Harris projects were proliferating. Indicative of the cross-talk and interference between the two arms of the firm, Harris was by now publishing significantly less poetry in Angry Penguins.
A consideration of the fortunes of The Vegetative Eye, compared with its more successful peers in the Reed & Harris list, shows that attempts at an intersection between Angry Penguins and the Reed & Harris book business could be tricky. Maintaining a degree of separation was often a good thing: we have already seen how a particular kind of coordination between the two arms of Reed & Harris allowed it to balance conflicting political imperatives in regard to the Left. Conversely, when an Angry Penguins style of project (that is, with a narrower potential readership) such as The Vegetative Eye, was carried over into the domain of the Reed & Harris publishing list (aimed at a broader audience), the consequences were not felicitous. Under a pragmatic arrangement of ‘separation’ Angry Penguins could provide a spearhead and focus for the firm's activities, supplying the firm's ‘progressive’ credentials, while the more commercial practices of Reed & Harris book publishing conveyed, to a bigger reading public, less extreme values and opinions that were nevertheless germane to the group. Compared with Harris's novel, Ellery's and Zeglovsky's books, for example, could be edited better, sold better, and conveyed things from the Angry Penguins/‘Heide’ group that were not exactly ‘ideas’, as such, but were important social/intellectual modes. These reflected the most important single common element running through all of the Reed & Harris list: a progressive-minded receptivity to life beyond Australian shores.
Essentially, this was the expression of a desire for cultural modernisation, held by a particular class hostile to what they saw as Australian parochialism. This single thread ran through the Reed & Harris offerings: in Ellery's ‘intelligentsia’ view of the Soviet Union, Cynthia Reed's semi-autobiographical travelogue Lucky Alphonse, or the cultural cosmopolitanism of Zeglovsky. Ballet Crusade would have exerted strong appeal to the Reed & Harris book-buying market: it was exotic, urbane, and anecdotal, focusing on an art-form which only middle-class (and ‘better’) patrons could enjoy. It was writing custom-made for would-be connoisseurs. Zeglovsky's presence signalled the new wave of emigre influence that was to become so important in the post-war cultural liberalisation of Australia. These ways of thinking were to become immensely influential, and Reed & Harris's role in encouraging interest in them — on whichever of its two ‘fronts’ — was one of the most significant legacies it left when it shut down at the end of ‘hostilities’.
Brian Lloyd


Ivor Francis to John Reed, dated 25 January 1944, Reed Papers, Box 5, file 12, La Trobe Australian Manuscript Collection, State Library of Victoria. (Only box and file numbers are given for all subsequent references to the Reed Papers.)


See Sally Dennison, Alternative Literary Publishing: Five Modern Histories, Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1984, p. 2. Another important essay on this issue is Andreas Huyssen's ‘Mass Culture As Woman: Modernism's Other’, in Studies in Entertainment, ed. T. Modleski, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986, pp. 188-207.


See Barrett Reid, ‘Making it New in Australia: Some Notes on Sunday and John Reed’, in Angry Penguins and Realist Painting in Melbourne in the 1940s, eds Richard Francis and Sandy Nairne, London: South Bank Centre, 1988, pp. 28-29.


Roy Foster, ‘Wild Geese Chase?: The Love-Hate Relationships of Marginal Englishmen and Micks on the Make’, Times Literary Supplement, no. 4722,1 October 1993, p. 5.


The Angry Penguin: Selected Poems of Max Harris, edited with an introduction by Alan Brissenden, Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1996, p. ix.


See Richard Haese, Rebels and Precursors: The Revolutionary Years of Australian Art, Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1988, p. 25.


Haese, p. 77.


Haese, pp. 24-25.


Undated letter Harris to Horne, c. 1941, beginning ‘Dear Donald; You'll write to me about army life!’, Papers of Donald Horne, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney.


See, for example, Max Harris, ‘And the Sexton Tolled the Bell’, Angry Penguins, no. 7, 1944, pp. 53-56.


See, for example, Max Harris, ‘The Pelvic Rose’, Angry Penguins, no. 1, 1940, pp. 23-27, and ‘The Word’, Angry Penguins, no. 4, 1943, pp. 4-8.


These issues were outlined in an undated letter from Harris to Nolan, beginning ‘Dear Sid, Consequent upon last night's telephone conversation … ’, (Box 2, file 6).


Haese, pp. 216-17.


The other Reed & Harris partners placed great importance on Nolan's role in design and when Nolan, then in the army, was due to be transferred this caused great concern; see letter from Reed to Harris, 17 February 1944, (Box 5, file 12).


See Reid, ‘Making It New in Australia’, pp. 28-29.


Haese, p. 119.


See Sunday Reed, ‘Three Poems by Arthur Rimbaud’, Angry Penguins, no. 4, 1943, pp. 42-43, and Sydney Nolan, ‘Faithful Words’, Angry Penguins, no. 4, 1943, p. 44.


See Albert Tucker, ‘Exit Modernism’, Angry Penguins Broadsheet, no. 1, 1945, pp. 9-12., his editorial for the ‘Sociological Section’, Angry Penguins, no. 8, 1945, p. 142., ‘The Flea and the Elephant’, Angry Penguins, no. 6, 1944, pp. 53-58, and ‘Art, Myth and Society’, Angry Penguins, no. 4, 1943, pp. 49-54. For more on Mary Martin, see David Martin, ‘The Mary Martin Story’, Overland, no. 128, 1992, pp. 44-49; and Julie Lewis, Mary Martin: A Double Life: Australia-India 1915-1973, University of Queensland Press, 1997.


See Max Harris, The Unknown Great Australian and Other Psychobiographical Portraits, Melbourne: Sun Books, 1983.


Reed to Harris, 13 January 1944; Mary Martin to Reed, ‘27 Jan.’ [thought to be 27 January 1944], (Box 5, file 7).


Reed to Harris, 13 December 1943, (Box 5, file 12).


Mary Martin to Reed, 16 February 1944, (Box 5, file 7).


See, for example, Max Harris, ‘The Current Literary Scene’ [no. 3], Angry Penguins, no. 8,1945, pp. 169-75, and Harry Roskolenko, ‘Myth and Metaphysic’, Angry Penguins, no. 7, 1944, pp. 44-45, for hostile Angry Penguins reviews of these publications.


Reg Ellery, Eyes Left!, Melbourne: Reed & Harris, 1943, p.


Reed to John Apthorp, Current Affairs Library, Katoomba, dated 10 December, (Box 5, file 7).


Noel Counihan to Bernard Smith, 9 May 1943. Smith Papers, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney.


Clif Pier to Bernard Smith, dated 23 April 1946, Smith Papers.


See, for example, Noel Counihan, ‘How Albert Tucker Misrepresents Marxism’, Angry Penguins, no. 5, 1943, pp. [13-15].


See letter from The Left Bookshop, Rockhampton, Queensland, to ‘The Manager, Reed & Harris … ’, (Box 5, file 7.). Strong sales of Williams's book were reported in a letter from Mary Martin to Reed, dated ‘Sunday Jan 16’, [thought to be 16 January 1944], (Box 5, file 7).


See letter from Harris to Chairman of Communist Party of South Australia, undated, on Reed & Harris letterhead, c. 1946, (Box 5, file 12).


Evidence of Harris monitoring Transformation appears, for example, in letter Harris to Reed, marked ‘received 17/1/43’, (Box 5, file 12).


Reed to Harris, 22 February 1943, (Box 5, file 12).


A reference to distribution through Gotham Books is in Reed to Harris, 2 February 1943, (Box 5, file 12).


Letters from Mary Martin to Reed, ‘Sunday Jan 16’, [thought to be 16 January 1944] and ‘27 Jan’ [thought 27 January 1944], (Box 5, file 7).


Pound edited Eliot's The Waste Land. See Louis Menand, Discovering Modernism: T.S. Eliot and His Context, New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.


A.D. Hope, ‘Confessions of a Zombie’, Meanjin, no. 1, vol. 3, 1944, pp. 44-48.


Reed to Dutton, 27 January 1944, (Box 5, file 12).


Harris to Reed, ‘received 17/1/43’, (Box 5, file 12).


Ivor Francis to Reed, 25 January 1944, (Box 5, file 12).


Reed to Ivor Francis, 10 February 1944, (Box 5, file 12).


Mary Martin to Reed, ‘Sunday Jan 16’ [thought to be 16 January 1944]; Ivor Francis to Reed, 25 January 1944, (Box 5, file 12).

Please note: Some endnote links are inactive as they were missing from the text in the original printed edition.