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Henry Handel Richardson


Henry Handel Richardson was born Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson in Melbourne in 1870, the daughter of a physician. At the time of her birth, her father was well-off and living off his investments but, while they were touring Europe four years later, his investments failed and he returned to practice. He tried to re-establish himself but became ill and died in 1879. Richardson’s mother had been appointed postmistress in a small town in Victoria. Her mother subsequently resigned from the postal service so that Ethel could study music in Leipzig. She soon abandoned music for literature and continued her love for literature after marrying J G Robertson, a student of German literature. After translating Jacobsen’s Niels Lyhne and Björson’s The Fisher Lass, she started publishing her own writing. Her husband was appointed to a lectureship in Strasbourg and she led an active life but became more solitary after they moved to London. She is best known for The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, a trilogy which occupied her for twenty years and is probably the first great Australian novel. She died in 1946.

Books about Henry Handel Richardson

Michael Ackland: Henry Handel Richardson
Vincent Buckley: Henry Handel Richardson
William Elliott: Henry Handel Richardson (Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson)

Other links

Henry Handel Richardson
Henry Handel Richardson
Richardson, Ethel Florence Lindesay (Henry Handel) (1870 – 1946)
The Henry Handel Richardson Society
A detailed bibliography of her works


1908 Maurice Guest
1910 The Getting of Wisdom
1917 Australia Felix Part 1 of The Fortunes of Richard Mahony
1925 The Way Home Part 2 of The Fortunes of Richard Mahony
1929 Ultima Thule Part 3 of The Fortunes of Richard Mahony
1930 The Fortunes of Richard Mahony (as a complete set)
1931 Two Studies (includes the short story ‘Mary Christina’)
1934 The End of a Childhood and Other Stories
1939 The Young Cosima
1948 Myself When Young
1965 1908
1979 The Adventures of Cuffy Mahony and Other Stories
1992 The End of a Childhood: The Complete Short Stories of Henry Handel Richardson