P. R. Stephensen

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Percy Reginald Stephensen (20 November 1901 – 28 May 1965) was an Australian writer, publisher and political activist, first for the Communists and later for far-Right groups.[1]

He was born in Maryborough, Queensland. He was nicknamed "Inky", and attended the University of Queensland, where he joined the Communist Party in 1921. He gained a second-class honours degree in Modern Greats at Queen's College, Oxford where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar and was a member of the university branch of the Communist Party with A. J. P. Taylor, Graham Greene and Tom Driberg.[1]

He was a friend of D H Lawrence and edited the first uncensored version of Lady Chatterley's Lover. He was also friends with Aldous Huxley.[2]

His most significant work was The Foundations of Culture in Australia (1936), which led to the foundation of the Jindyworobak Movement.

Between the world wars, his Fellowship of Australian Writers released a document that advocated disconnection with the United States and stated, "US comics promoted demonology, witchcraft and voodooism, with superman part of a raving mad view of the world." And of American musicals and minstrel shows, "the American negro, with his jungle is not welcome here."

He was a member of the Australia First Movement whose magazine The Publicist he helped found in 1936 and edited from 1941-1942. He was noted for his anti-semitic views in this period.[1]

Stephensen was a prolific author. He published over 30 books, as well as translations of works by Vladimir Lenin and Friedrich Nietzsche. He also produced nearly 70 books ghostwritten for Frank Clune.

He was interned without trial from 1942 to 1945 for pro-Japanese and Axis sympathies.


Non fiction

  • The Bushwackers: Sketches of Life in the Australian Outback
  • The Foundations of Culture in Australia
  • The Foundations of Culture in Australia: An Essay Towards National Self Respect (1936)
  • The Legend of Aleister Crowley (1930)

Secondary sources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Munro, Craig (2000). "Stephensen, Percy Reginald (1901 - 1965)". Melbourne University Press. Retrieved 2013-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Achiever's Walk: Ordinary Australians doing extraordinary things" (PDF). Fraser Coast Regional Council. 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>