Arthur H. Adams, 1872–1935


  • Kirstine Moffat



Arthur H. Adams occupies an important place in New Zealand’s literary history as a pioneer of a diverse range of literary forms. Starting his literary life as a lyricist for light opera, Adams published four volumes of poetry, one collection of short stories, one collection of plays and eleven novels in his lifetime. He was also a journalist and used his position as literary editor to the Bulletin and the Lone Hand to advance the careers of Australasian writers and promote a literary culture in Australian and New Zealand society. At their best, Adams’ poems and novels display a distinctively New Zealand sensibility and an unsentimental pride in the nation’s cultural identity. He is capable of evoking landscape, character and mood with spare lyricism and rhythmic force and delights in the original and unorthodox. Adams’ early promise was never fully realised, perhaps because of his tendency to experiment with a succession of new styles and genres. A sense of disillusionment and wasted talent pervades his later work.


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Author Biography

Kirstine Moffat