William Pember Reeves: Writing the Fortunate Isles

Meg Tasker


William Pember Reeves seldom appears in studies of Australians in London, for the simple reason that he was from New Zealand. Nonetheless, he was one of the leading ‘Anglo-Colonials’ in London in the late 1890s (Sinclair, WPR 247), and appears often in the pages of the British-Australasian and other journals interested in colonial life and topics. A journalist, politician, socialist, legislator, economist, diplomat, historian, and poet, he produced a good deal of writing in many genres. Most of his work was concerned with ‘writing New Zealand,’ or, in one of his favourite classical allusions, ‘the fortunate isles.’  This paper traces his political and literary career, arguing that his move from New Zealand to London allowed him not only to write with the clarity of distance and the authority of being published in the cultural metropolis, but to liaise or mediate between


William Pember Reeves; transnational colonial; London; 1890s; Anglo-Australasian; Fortunate Isles

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