Tales from Corytella:
The Collected Stories of Flexmore Hudson
(WAV Publications, 1987)
ISBN 0 9591186 9 1 (pbk)
Compiled and edited by Adam Dutkiewicz
Cover design by Michal Dutkiewicz
from photographs from the Mortlock Library and by Graeme Hastwell
During his life Flexmore Hudson gained a reputation as a lyrical poet of rare talent. In all, he published four volumes of his work: Ashes and Sparks (1937), In the Wind’s Teeth (1940), As Iron Hills (1944), a compilation of two pamphlets published in the previous year (Indelible Voices and With the First Soft Rain), and Pools of the Cinnabar Range (1959).
In 1946, having taught for over a decade in one-teacher schools in the South Australian bush, he received a grant to enable him to write a novel and to continue with his poems. On resigning from the Education Department he spent a few years working freelance as a writer in various media, and as salesman and seaman. He returned to teaching, working at Scotch College for 15 years, King’s College and Adelaide (Boys’) High School, from where he retired in 1978 after a further 28 years of service, only fourteen months before the death of his wife, Myrle (nee Desmond).
After receiving a further grant in 1972 he worked on an autobiography, which remains incomplete. He was regarded as one of Australia’s literary impressionists.
Rich in experience, wisdom, humour and pathos, these 24 stories place Flexmore Hudson as one of the great short story writers in mid-20th century Australian literature. His keen eye for detail and his compassion make him a writer genuinely suited to the creation of fiction, especially the short story, but this remains his only contribution to the genre. In many respects the style reflects his love of Anton Chekov and DH Lawrence.
On 20 July 1964 the author donated a manuscript of his unpublished panoramic novel, Spring Came On Forever, to the South Australian Collection of the State Library. Subsequently, Hudson discovered in an old trunk the handwritten first draft, done on scrap paper from the Barley Board during and shortly after the years of the Second World War, and donated it to the Library later that year.
Included among the notes are sketches of the various characters, details about the lifestyle and layout of the district, quotes from Schopenhauer, and a page of Aboriginal words from which the author wanted to select the name for his mythical township. At the top of the list is “Corytella”, meaning “Eaglehawk”.
The typed version of the manuscript, being better organised, identifies the novel as the basis for a number of the stories in this collection, refined over the years with Hudson’s perfectionist vision to become Tales from Corytella.
Publication was assisted by the Literature Board of the Australia Council.