Ulysses Press


This is the home of Ulysses Press, publisher of “Buddha in a Bookshop” by Peter Kelly.


Buddha in a Bookshop

ISBN  978-0-646-46977-5




When Harold Stewart died in Japan in 1995 very few people in Australia remembered who he was. He had attained some notoriety in the public eye in 1944 for his role in the Ern Malley Hoax in which he and a fellow  poet, James Mc Auley, had produced a set of surrealist poems which they had concocted one Saturday afternoon and passed off as the work of an obscure young poet who had recently died. McAuley went on to become a professor, editor of Quadrant and a well-known Catholic advocate and political figure. By contrast Stewart immersed himself in the study of the oriental doctrines as represented by a group of conservative intellectuals called the Traditionalists, and lived a life of obscurity.


He worked in a Melbourne bookshop and set up a study group which met there every Friday evening for twelve years to study the works of René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Frithjof Schuon, the principal Traditionalist writers. In 1966 he left Australia, never to return, and settled in Kyoto where he wrote his major poems.


This book relates the story of the influence on the thinking and poetry of Harold Stewart of the Traditionalists and of how other members of the group were affected by the doctrines. Stewart was in many ways a pioneer of interest in the oriental doctrines and was one of the first Australians to become a practising Buddhist and the book attempts to show that he was more than a mere hoaxer.



About the author:


Peter Kelly was born in Melbourne in 1928 but lived in Sydney from 1939 to1951 where he attended Fort Street High School. He has a B.A in English Literature and an M.A in Applied Linguistics from the University of Melbourne. After working in publishing for twenty years he trained as a teacher of English as a Second Language and taught in Japan between 1969 and 1971. In 1973 he  was appointed as inaugural lecturer in  the English for Overseas Students program at the Horwood Language  Centre at the University of Melbourne and taught there until he retired in 1993. From 1987 till 1993 he was also Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, his special interest being in literacy, genre theory and languages for special purposes.


He was a friend of Harold Stewart for forty-eight years and was a member of the Norman Robb Bookshop group from 1951 to 1963. He has been a student of comparative religion and philosophy and the arts of Asia for over fifty years and is a member of a Buddhist community in Melbourne.

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