A vagabond: the literary journalism of John Stanley James

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The English-born John Stanley James—also known as Julian Thomas—began to write anonymously for the Melbourne Argus newspaper in 1876 under the nom de plum of "A Vagabond." The pieces he contributed, later collected in The Vagabond Papers (1877), were first-hand accounts of life inside some of the strictest Australian institutions, including the Alfred Hospital, Pentridge Gaol, the Immigrants' Home, and lunatic asylums. Although his accounts demonstrated literary pretensions, a cultivated flamboyance, and a pleasure in the self-aggrandizement of his anonymous narrator, they were nevertheless compassionate pleas for social reform. Later James contributed travel accounts to Australian newspapers following visits to the South Pacific and China. This paper traces and analyzes the work of James writing as "A Vagabond," and argues for his recognition as one of the earliest exponents of Australian literary journalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
JournalLiterary journalism studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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