The Imperfectionists 13 Apr, 4: Pearson was born and grew up on the West Coast, going to Greymouth tech, and later training to be a teacher in Dunedin. Pearson knew from childhood that he was “different”. When he was called up to fight in the Second World War, his pacifist beliefs saw him serving initially as an assistant in the New Zealand Dental Corps. It could be argued that to me as a child they simply meant adults ; and at that time I did impute infallibility to adults. A plea that there should be much greater variety and tolerance and sensitivity.
If I do this I am sticking my neck out and will take the consequences. Again I shall have to keep clear class backgrounds—whether I am talking of miners, clerks or businessmen. The other danger is to use a deadly or hostile third person plural as if we were the object of an anthropologist’s research, as D’Arcy Cresswell did. Oh yes, wherever you go, we’re very popular. Henry Lawson Among Maoris. Pearson, a deeply closeted homosexual, feared that in its original form the novel would have exposed his own sexuality. Mr Sargeson wrote in Landfall March
This experience later provided the setting and many of the characters for his acclaimed social realist novel Coal Flat By the time anyone has read this article, he will have objected a dozen times that I am not talking of New Zealanders but of men: Pearson is known primarily for two published works, the first being his essay, Fretful Sleepers: At the University of Auckland, where he returned from London to teach in the English Department inPearson got most satisfaction from falling in with the tiny group of Maori students then only 35 out of a student role of over who befriended him and whom he advised and supported financially Pita Sharples being one who benefited most from “Doc’s” patronage.
I say academic because my recollection was that Pearson was presented as an anthropologist or historian of some sort when in fact he was a creative writer and English literature professor.
Share on Whatsapp whatsapp. Millar’s biography is every bit as sharp and wise as its subject but far more gentle. Anna Kavan ‘New Zealand: To abstract what might be peculiar to New Zealanders would be to talk of a fiction.
Ray Copeland, then a fellow M. When I heard that Fretvul was working on this book I had doubts that soeepers fine novel sleepets one strong essay plus a scattering of other useful non-fictional writing – on Henry Lawson, Frank Sargeson and the literature concerning Maori and the Pacific was sufficient to justify a full-scale biography.
Only with the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill in did Pearson timidly and tentatively begin to come out of the closet, but by then it was too late to revive his thwarted creativity.
Review: No Fretful Sleeper: A Life of Bill Pearson – NZ Herald
He became a life-long drinker, finding in the easy sociability of the public bar some outlet for his repressed feelings. At Ma’adi I saw a sergeant practicing with a flame-thrower and I asked myself, Would I be capable of using a weapon like that? Strangely enough there has been less of this nostalgia about England.
The New Zealander delegates authority, then forgets it. One great novel Wuthering Heights? Share on Google Plus google-plus. Inunder a scholarship scheme for returned servicemen, he enrolled as a doctoral candidate at Kings College, University of London, receiving his PhD in Fretful Sleepers and Other Essays Publication details: Fretfl other danger is to use a deadly or hostile third person plural as if we were the object of an anthropologist’s research, as D’Arcy Cresswell did.
Alongside a brilliant essay by Robin Hyde and the transcript of David Lange’s Oxford Union debate was an extraordinary essay by an academic I’d never heard of called Bill Pearson. As Pearson explained it:.
Pearson, then aged 29, and in his second year of Doctoral studies was, for the first time in his life, free of all sustained contact with other New Zealanders. Paul Millar Part of: His essay Fretful Sleepers is a scathing and sharp indictment of New Zealand society. The jury mentality is in our sleelers of should.
Fretful Sleepers and Other Essays | NZETC
It was a liberation of sorts that provided space for him to think about his relationship with his home-land and its people. By the time anyone has read this article, he will have objected a dozen times that I am not talking of New Zealanders but of men: During the Second World War, he agonised about joining the army, eventually deciding to do so only in a non-combatant role as a dental orderlyalthough he later accepted a posting to an infantry unit which give him much pause for thought: Millar is primarily interested in literature so he brings a sense of the writer within the man to his analysis of Pearson’s life.
It is a symptom of an increasing attitude of unprincipled opportunism. In the army I re-thought my position and concluded I could no longer logically object to combatant service.
A figure who was at the centre of New Zealand’s literary and academic world in the s and 60s and yet today remains a slightly peripheral player. I recall the bad rhyme of the second couplet worried me at the time.
Bill Pearson’s Fretful Sleepers: