# 40101

HARDY, Frank J. (Francis Joseph) (1917-1994)

Power without glory : a novel in three parts by Frank J. Hardy, “Ross Franklyn”. (With the separately printed Glossary of “recognisable characters”)

$200.00 AUD

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Melbourne : Realist Printing and Publishing Co., April, 1950. First edition. Octavo (185 x 130 mm), original red cloth with black-lettered spine (cloth lightly marked, spine canted), front endpaper with pencilled name of the book’s ironically named first owner J. J. Power (Chairman of the Queensland Turf Club), front pastedown with two later owners’ names and addresses (including another member of the Power family, Brisbane); pp. 669, [3 Author’s Note]; vignette illustrations by Ambrose Dyson; both hinges split, foxing to first and last few leaves, spotting to edges; lacking the dust jacket; loosely enclosed is an anonymous roneo-printed foolscap-folio sheet, most definitely post-law suit but probably from the early 1950s, headed ‘Glossary. Some of the recognisable characters in “Power Without Glory” (Frank Hardy)‘, printed on both sides (edges roughened but no loss of text).

‘Power Without Glory is a 1950 historical novel written by Australian author Frank Hardy, following the life and ambitions of John West, a politician born into a working-class family who rises to prominence in Australian federal politics. Following the novel’s publication, Ellen Wren, the wife of bookmaker and businessman John Wren sued Hardy for libel, claiming that the characters of John West and his wife Nellie were modelled on the Wrens, and that Nellie’s affair in the novel was libellous to Ellen Wren. Ultimately Hardy was cleared and publication allowed. The work was originally self-published, with illustrations by Hardy’s friend “Amb” Dyson, with the subtitle “a novel in three parts by Frank J. Hardy, Ross Franklyn”. “Ross Franklyn” was the pseudonym Hardy had always used prior to Power Without Glory. This combination of real name and pen name was also used in Hardy’s 1961 book The Hard Way which describes the difficulties “Ross Franklyn” had in having the book published, and the problems Frank Hardy faced in answering the criminal libel charge against him arising from the publication.

Hardy was a member of the Communist Party of Australia, which features in the novel as the enemy of the protagonist. After the novel’s publication, Hardy would run unsuccessfully for office as a member of the Communist Party.

Hardy wrote in his later work, The Hard Way, that he felt dissatisfied with the final chapters of the novel. In his desire to complete the long work at a manageable length for publication, and with the threats regarding the novel’s publication, Hardy felt the final chapters were hurried. Power Without Glory follows the life of John West, who is born into an impoverished family in the fictitious Melbourne suburb of Carringbush, which is based on the actual suburbs of Abbotsford and Collingwood. When the novel opens, in 1893, West is twenty-four years old and already involved in criminal activities including gambling and bookmaking. The novel follows West’s life as he rises to be a highly ambitious businessman and corrupt politician, as a powerbroker for the Australian Labor Party.

The novel is partly set during World War I, and the debate about conscription is a major issue in the novel. John West is a fierce patriot who supports conscription, and his sometimes fiery arguments with the Irish-Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, who opposes conscription on the grounds that to send men to aid England was contrary to his, and Ireland’s, historical enmity with that country.

West’s family dramas are many: his brother Arthur spends time in jail for aiding and abetting a crime of rape, West’s wife Nellie has an affair with a tradesman and falls pregnant with his child, and his daughter becomes a member of the Communist Party of Australia in the years after the War.

West’s relationship with Communism is a hateful one, and he heavily finances the efforts of the (real life) anti-communist, Roman Catholic B.A. Santamaria. This crusade damages both his family fortunes and his marriage, and continues until West’s death as an old man in 1950. The novel can be considered a Roman à clef, or a novel in which many of the characters correlate with real-life figures of the time, including Victorian Premier Sir Thomas Bent and Prime Minister James Scullin.

The following list attempts to align Power Without Glory characters with real historical persons who may have been inspirational to the author. Recognisable features do not necessarily imply any attempt at an exact correlation. Hardy himself conceded or even affirmed some such correlations, but says in The Hard Way that many such lists were being created and passed around by parties without his involvement, perhaps even without his knowledge.’ (Wikipedia)