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The Days and Dreams of Arcady

Title: Days & Dreams of Arcady (The)

Geoffrey Bingham

by Rev. Geoffrey Bingham

Subject: Short Stories

Book Code: 046

Pages: 246 pp, Book

Pub. Date: 1985

ISBN: 0 86408 017 4

View 642 kb

 

Days & Dreams of ArcadyAs rich in whimsy, if not rich, is Pro Hart, famed for his bush and rural paintings. He has taken one story from the many about Arcady, 'Tally-Ho the Red Fox', and faithfully interpreted it. Pro Hart has his own Aussie Arcady, wider than Wirril Creek, but much in the same idiom.

About this Book

ANCIENT ARCADY, or Arcadia, was a rustic sylvan retreat from the inanities and cruelties of the world of foolish and vindictive humans. At least so the idea goes. The original Arcady was supposed to have been an actual place where innocence, pleasures and delights as well as good honest work was done, in the absence of a blast and sophisticated spirit. It was a world of peace and joy, games and dancing. No Arcady exists-as such-but Geoffrey Bingham does write of an Austral Arcady. We are not sure whether it is tongue-in-cheek or cheek-in-tongue, or both! Anyway he writes, and The Days and Dreams of arcady is an amusing and entertaining collection of short stories. Only the un- thinking will miss their point-a message to modern man that he has perhaps missed the richest and most fulfilling of lives in his busy technological world. In any case, it may be just good fun to read Bingham. Entertainment is what good literature is about, and to read a master of pen and humour is no great burden for any reader to bear.

An Explanation of Compilation

When the Wirril Creek stories were originally written in the early 1950s, they were simple separate studies of persons and events without any attempt to rationalise them as a whole. Consequently when some thirty years later my first volume of short stories (To Command the Cats, 1980) was published by Angus and Robertson, some of the Wirril Creek stories were included. These had originally been published in the Bulletin. In addition, the Bulletin had published a large number of stories in the Wirril Creek setting. It was thought that very few of these yarns would stand on their own in a second volume: they did not have this quality.

I had been urged by friends to create a special volume of Wirril Creek stories, in which the stories could stand together. I was reluctant to do this, but when I read through them-after so many years-I felt the project to be valid. However, those stories could not stand without the ones included in To Command the Cats. Having gained agreement to include them, I have also added some new stories written for the same setting.

Writing the new stories was a curious but wonderful experience. A friend of mine who lectures in Australian history at university level believes that the period of the Second World War and immediately following is a rich one, and he encouraged me to fill out that era. It was a bit uncanny seeing a period of my life suddenly come to life. I was living back in that 'Arcady' with great zest. I say this because readers may detect differences in my mode and quality of writing. I hope, however, that the stories present themselves as an integrated block of writing, of persons, events and characterisation. Of course, I had to invent the unusual format, and apologise for its deficiencies.

The stories published firstly in the Bulletin and then in To Command the Cats are 'Mr. Hicken's Pears', 'The Sons of Nim', 'Private Amnig, V.C.', 'Dolly', 'Grandma Sells Persimmons', 'Tallyho the Red Fox', and 'Need a Wife' (published in shorter form as 'The Inspector'). 'Concerning Grass' was originally published in Southerly and included in To Command the Cats. The new stories are 'Entrance into Arcadia', 'Mr. Hicken's Letter', 'Ralph Hicken Comes Home', 'Ralph Hicken's Revelation', 'A Matter of Asparagus', and 'Terry Hickey's Dream'. The remaining stories were published in the Bulletin.

GEOFFREY BINGHAM