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Sensational Tales

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Marcus Clarke, Sensational Tales

Marcus Clarke, Sensational Tales. Melbourne: McCarron, Bird, 1886.

Marcus Clarke (1846-81) was the only child of a London barrister. His father died when he was sixteen and it was arranged for him to join his uncle in Australia. He worked as a bank clerk and on a property in the Wimmera before gaining a position on the Argus and quickly establishing his reputation as a journalist.

His first novel, Long Odds, appeared in serial form in 1868-9, but forays into magazine publishing proved unprofitable and he returned to journalism. A working trip to Tasmania resulted in his most famous work, the convict novel His Natural Life, first published in serial form in 1870-2.

In 1873 he was appointed Secretary to the Trustees of the Melbourne Public Library and was later made sub-librarian. His inability to manage money led to bankruptcy in 1874 and he was involved in a second round of insolvency proceedings when he died suddenly at the age of thirty-five.

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