Peter Whiteford and Geoffrey Miles

Quarrels with Himself: Essays on James K. Baxter as Prose Writer


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October 2017

‘I know now that later in life I will write prose and good prose,’ declared the nineteen-year-old James K. Baxter.

And he did. The 2015 publication of Baxter’s Complete Prose reveals his remarkable range and depth across everything from personal, informal jottings to highly crafted literary essays and political polemics.

Quarrels with Himself provides a dozen essays that uncover how much more complicated Baxter is than his popular stereotype, and how his prose writing (like his poetry) wrestles with contradictions, anxieties and competing impulses just as he wrestled with the society in which he lived, or from which he withdrew.

Essays by Janet Wilson, Sharon Matthews, Paul Millar, Lawrence Jones, John Davidson, Nicholas Wright, Hugh Roberts, Kirstine Moffat, Paul Morris, Doreen D’Cruz, Peter Whiteford, and Greg O’Brien, with an introduction by Geoffrey Miles.

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