William Baylebridge

About William Baylebridge

William Baylebridge (12 December 1883 – 7 May 1942), born Charles William Blocksidge, was an Australian writer, poet, and political theorist. In 1908, he sailed to London with his friend (and future brother-in-law) Robert Graham Brown. He published several volumes of juvenilia, starting with Songs o’ the South in 1908. While living in London, Baylebridge also published his earliest statements of fascist political theory, in both verse and aphoristic prose. These works were The New Life (1910) and National Notes (1913), both of which advanced a form of proto-fascism he called the ‘New Nationalism’, thus preceding the Italian movement by several years. When he returned to Australia in 1919, after over a decade abroad, he released his first Australian publication, Selected Poems, which was published in Brisbane by Gordon & Gotch. Shortly afterward, he published his first novel, An Anzac Muster (1921), in London, possibly—as with his other English publications—with the help of a relative, the printer Edwin Blocksidge.
For the rest of his life, Baylebridge consciously cultivated the air of a mysterious and reclusive prophet-poet. This involved not only the archaic style of his poetry and prose, but also his eschewing of all forms of conventional publicity. He rarely published in anthologies; he refused to sit for portraits; and he also refused, when asked, to speak at public events.
Baylebridge died on 7 May 1942. He is buried in South Head Cemetery. He never married and had no children.

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