Kenneth Slessor’s Darlinghurst Nights
Slessor Darlinghurst nights. What’s most interesting for me in this is that it shows me how little I know of Slessor‘s context. I’ve always made assumptions about him: a bit of a leftie, a bit of a radical – but this gives me a very different picture.
A couple of weeks ago I promised I’d find the other collection of Slessor’s works from Smith’s Weekly, and here it is. Darlinghurst Nights was first published in 1933 and matches Slessor’s lighter poetry with the illustrations of Virgil Reilly.
I was hoping it was going to include some of the poems set for HSC students. It doesn’t but it’s still a window into Slessor’s world. The illustrations are curious. Apparently the streets of Darlinghurst are filled with semi-clad girls gazing wistfully from their windows. It seems that the Smith’s Weekly audience were as much entranced by the hope of a whimsical romantic encounter as by the sexy lingerie.
It’s hardly how I’d pictured Slessor or his audience. I’m curious now. Anybody out there got a better contextual handle on this?