First Look at the Typescript

After seeing Furphy’s typewriter at Tom Collins House in Perth, I’ve now examined the typed pages created by the man and his machine. A continent separates these two artefacts of Australian literary history. The typescript is held in the Miles Franklin Collection at the Mitchell Library in Sydney. Donated by Miles Franklin in 1954, the Typescript is now found at call number ML MSS 364/65.

My examination is the first step in producing text files for the Typescript and the serialisation of Rigby’s Romance in the Broken Hill newspaper, the Barrier Truth. A glance at the typescript and the serialisation clearly shows that there are major variations, but computer collation will identify many minor variations, enabling a closer examination of Furphy’s revision of his second novel when he extracted the text from the 1897 Typescript. (In the near future I’ll set up a page that will deal with the textual and material history of the Typescript and the books that were produced from it.)

My plan is to deal with the two extracted novels first to show what Furphy and others did to these texts as they were shaped for publication. A touch more than 350 sheets of the 1897 Typescript have survived. Thanks to the work of the esteemed Furphy Scholar John Barnes, there is a guide to the documents that shows the following breakdown of the Typescript:

Chapter I: pages 1 – 81 (incomplete)

Chapter II: pages 163-220 (an early version of The Buln Buln and the Brolga)

Chapter III: pages 221-243 (incomplete)

Chapter IV: page 309

Chapter V: pages 401-525 (an early version of Rigby’s Romance)

Chapter VI: pages 563-597 (incomplete)

Chapter VII: pages 598-644 (complete)

I will deal with Rigby’s Romance first. Any conclusions about the textual history of Rigby’s Romance will get their first complete airing at ASAL 2011. But my preliminary reflections on the research process towards that end will be posted here.

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