AD Hope c1969

A.D. Hope, circa 1969. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Alec Derwent Hope AC OBE (21 July 1907 –13 July 2000), who wrote as A.D. Hope, was an Australian poet, essayist, literary critic, and academic, best known for his satires and elegies.[1]


Hope was born in Cooma, New South Wales, and educated partly at home and in Tasmania. He attended Fort Street Boys High School, Sydney University, and then the University of Oxford on a scholarship.

Returning to Australia in 1931 he then trained as a teacher, and spent some time drifting. He worked as a psychologist with the New South Wales Department of Labour and Industry, and as a lecturer in Education and English at Sydney Teachers College (1937–44).

He was a lecturer at the University of Melbourne from 1945 to 1950, and in 1951 took the post as the first professor of English at the newly-founded Canberra University College, later of the Australian National University (ANU) when the two institutions merged, a chair he held until retiring in 1968. From 1968 was appointed Emeritus Professor at the ANU.[2]

He died in Canberra, having suffered dementia in his last years, and is buried at the Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery, Queanbeyan, New South Wales.


Although he was published as a poet while still young, The Wandering Islands (1955) was his first collection, what remained of his early work after it was mostly destroyed in manuscript in a fire. Its publication was also delayed by concern about the effects of Hope's highly-erotic and savagely-satirical verse on the Australian public. His influences were Pope and the Augustan poets, Auden, and Yeats; he was a polymath, very largely self-taught, and with a talent for offending his countrymen. He wrote a book of "answers" to other poems, including one in response to the poem "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell.

The reviews he wrote in the 1940s and 50s were feared "for their acidity and intelligence. If his reviews hurt some writers - Patrick White included - they also sharply raised the standard of literary discussion in Australia."[3] However, Hope relaxed in later years. As poet Kevin Hart writes, "The man I knew, from 1973 to 2000, was invariably gracious and benevolent".[3]

Hope wrote in a letter to the poet/academic, Catherine Cole: "Now I feel I've reached the pinnacle of achievement when you equate me with one of Yeats's 'wild, wicked old men'. I'm probably remarkably wicked but not very wild, I fear too much ingrained Presbyterian caution".[4] Cole suggests that Hope represented the three attributes that Vladimir Nabokov believed essential in a writer, "storyteller, teacher, enchanter".[4]


Kevin Hart, reviewing Catherine Cole's memoir of Hope, writes that "When A. D. Hope died in 2000 at the age of 93, Australia lost its greatest living poet".[3] Hart goes on to say that when once asked what poets do for Australia, Hope replied that "They justify its existence".[4]

Hope was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1972[5] and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1981[6] and awarded many other honours.


Publications Edit



  • The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus: By Christopher Marlow, purged and amended by A.D. Hope. Canberra & Miami, FL: Australian National University Press, 1982.
  • Ladies from the Sea: A play in three acts. Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press, 1987.


  • "The Journey of Hsü Shi" (short story). Phoenix Review, No. 4, 1989, pp. 7-16.[9]


  • Chance Encounters (with memoir by Peter Ryan). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1992.


  • The Structure of Verse and Prose. Sydney: Australasian Medical Publishing, 1963.
  • Australian Literature, 1950-1962. Parkville, Vic: Melbourne University Press, 1963.
  • The Cave and the Spring: Essays on poetry. Adelaide: Rigby / San Francisco: Tri-Ocean Books, 1965; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965.
  • The Literary Influence of Academies . Sydney: Sydney University Press / Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1970.
  • A Midsummer Eve's Dream: Variations on a theme by William Dunbar. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1970; New York: Viking, 1970; Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1971.
  • Henry Kendall: A dialogue with the past. Surry Hills, NSW: Wentworth Press, 1971.
  • Native Companions: Essays and comments on Australian literature, 1936-1966. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1974.
  • Judith Wright. Melbourne & New York: Oxford University Press, 1975.
  • The Pack of Autolycus. Canberra & Norwalk, CT: Australian National University Press, 1979.
  • The New Cratylus: Notes on the craft of poetry. Melbourne & New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.
  • Directions in Australian Poetry. Townsville, Qld: Foundation for Literary Studies, 1984.


  • Australian Poetry, 1960. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1960.
  • Henry Kendall (edited with Leonie Judith Gibson Kramer). Melbourne: Sun Books, 1973.

Collected editionsEdit

  • Selected Poetry and Prose (edited by David Brooks). Ruschcutters Bay, NSW: Halstead Press, 2000.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[10]

See also Edit

References Edit

Notes Edit

  1. A.D. Hope, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Web, Sep. 28, 2014.
  2. "MS 5836 Papers of A.D. Hope (1907-2000)". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Hart (2008)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 cited by Hart (2008)
  5. It's an Honour: OBE
  6. It's an Honour: AC
  7. "The Poetry Foundation". Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  8. "ACT Book of the Year Winners". ACT Virtual Library. Archived from the original on 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  9. The Journey of Hsu Shi, AustLit. Web, Sep. 28, 2014.
  10. Search results = au:A.D. Hope, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Sep. 28, 2014.

External links Edit

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