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Une cause célèbre en Australie : l'esprit / [John Lang]
Bib ID 7127163
Format BookBook [text, volume]
Lang, John, 1816-1864, author
Uniform Title Ghost story. French
Description Paris : Paulin et Le Chevalier, 1856 
161-167, 177-182 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm. 

L'ami de la maison : revue hebdomadaire illustrée ; vol. 1, no. 11 (20 Mars 1856) pages 161-167 and vol. 1, no. 12, (27 Mars 1856), pages 177-182


The legend of Fisher's Ghost is based on a true story, the murder of Frederick Fisher by George Worrell in western Sydney in 1827. Worrell was hanged for the crime. The introduction of Fisher's ghost into the narrative - a plot device which transforms the story into a successful work of fiction - is first evidenced in 1832, when an anonymous version of the story in verse form appeared in the Sydney journal Hill's Life, under the title The sprite of the creek. In 1836 a second version was published in Tegg's Monthly Magazine. It was titled Fisher's Ghost : a legend of Campbelltown, but again the identity of the author remains uncertain. In 1845 John Lang, a barrister considered to be the first Australian-born novelist, published his first version of the story in his Calcutta journal, The Mofussilite, with the simple title A ghost story. Lang's work was later exposed to a much wider reading audience when it appeared in Charles Dickens' literary periodical Household Words, in 1853, [a word-for-word reprint of The Mofussilite version, re-titled 'Fisher's Ghost,'] although it was published anonymously. The unauthorized French version of Lang's story, Une cause célèbre en Australie : L'esprit, which appeared over two consecutive issues of the Parisian weekly literary magazine, L'ami de la maison, in March 1856, changes the names of the characters and several details in Lang's storyline. It is accompanied by illustrations of Aboriginal trackers, Sydney Harbour, the Blue Mountains, and the ghost of Fisher himself, leaning against (rather than sitting on) the rail. (The most definitive version of the story of Fisher's Ghost is John Lang's slightly later The ghost upon the rail, which appeared in print in 1859 in Botany Bay; or True Stories of the Early Days of Australia). Curiously, authorship of the first part of the French adaptation is credited to 'Joseph Étienne', and that of the second to 'Davésieux.'—Catalogue from Douglas Stewart, June 2016.


Caption title.

Three of the illustrations are signed by Henry Valentin (1822-1886)‏: page 161 shows Fisher's ghost, and the two on pages 177 and 181 depict Aborigines and settlers. The illustration by 'P. B.' on page 164 depicts the Blue Mountains; page 180 has an unsigned view of Sydney Harbour; and page 165 an unsigned interior.

Subjects Ghost stories.  |  Australian
Other authors/contributors Étienne, Joseph  |  Davésieux  |  Valentin, Henry Augustin,‏ ‎ 1822-1886, illustrator.‏


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