15 September 11 am; journalist and author Thornton McCamish will lead Michael Cannon and Bob Flippen in a conversation about the new edition of a selection of the best works by the 19th-century journalist and scoundrel John Stanley James, aka ‘the Vagabond’.
When: 15 September 2016, 11:00am–12:15pm;
Where: Red Rotunda, Cowen Gallery, State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne;
Bookings required: telephone: 03 8664 7099 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
James’ pioneering method of immersion journalism exposed issues including the degradation of life in Victorian slums, the emerging colonial middle class, baby farming, savage sporting events and the life of the demi-monde.
This author talk will also include the opportunity to view a selection of works by the Vagabond from the Library’s Rare Books collection.
The Vagabond repeatedly shocked newly respectable citizens with his lively reporting of scandalous situations – baby farming, harsh conditions in prisons and asylums, savage sporting events, the life of the demi-monde, and pathetic pauper funerals.
This selection of the Vagabond’s best work includes a lengthy introduction to the 1969 edition, which attempted to explain the mysteries of his origins and adventures, and the reasons he always used pseudonyms after fleeing from the USA to Australia. Additional material in this edition reveals for the first time the details of his earlier life in Virginia, USA. Here he married the widow of a rich planter, used her money to build a delightful Southern mansion, became a leading light in society, took control of the local bank, and absconded when things went wrong.
The rascal managed to redeem himself with his unique work for Australian newspapers, where no-one realised his true identity. A further addition to this volume is a scholarly examination of the Vagabond’s pioneering technique of ‘immersion journalism’, where the reporter becomes part of the story and gives his own observations and opinions.
The vagabond papers is published by Monash University Publishing in association with the State Library Victoria.