Richardson, Henry Handel, pseud. of Ethel Richardson Robertson, 1870–1946, Australian novelist, b. Melbourne. Her years of study at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne, were reflected in her book The Getting of Wisdom (1910). After studying piano at Leipzig she turned to writing, living mainly in Germany until 1903 and then in England. Her first novel, Maurice Guest (1908), is the story of a music student's disastrous infatuation. The trilogy The Fortunes of Richard Mahony (1930), which presents an accurate and outstanding picture of Australian life, is considered her major work. Her writing, clear and austere in style, has been characterized as combining romantic insights with scientific attention to detail.
See her autobiographical fragment, Myself When Young (1948); study by D. Green (1973).
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