Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Clarke, Marcus Andrew Hislop
CLARKE, MARCUS ANDREW HISLOP (1846–1881), author, generally called Marcus Clarke, was born at 11 Leonard Place, Kensington, on 24 April 1846. His father, William Hislop Clarke, was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, 25 June 1830, and was an equity draftsman, in practice at 9 New Square, Lincoln's Inn, who married Amelia Elizabeth Matthews. Marcus, the only son, emigrated to Victoria, Australia, in 1863, and was for four years resident on a station on the Wimmera river, with the object of gaining experience to enable him to engage profitably in pastoral pursuits, but in 1867, abandoning his original intentions, went to Melbourne and joined the staff of the ‘Argus,’ a daily paper. His first publication, ‘The Peripatetic Philosopher,’ consisted of a series of papers in the ‘Australasian,’ which attracted some attention. In the following year he brought out a novel called ‘Long Odds,’ and in 1870 produced at the Theatre Royal the pantomime of ‘Little Bo-Peep.’ He was appointed secretary to the trustees of the Public Library, Melbourne, in 1872, and four years later became the assistant-librarian. His drama ‘Plot,’ which had a successful run, was played at the Princess's Theatre in 1873, and was followed by his adaptation of Molière's ‘Bourgeois Gentilhomme.’ The best pantomime ever produced in the Australian colonies was Clarke's ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,’ given at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, at Christmas 1873. During this time he was actively engaged on the press; he for some years wrote the dramatic criticism for the ‘Argus,’ and contributed to the leading and critical columns of all the principal journals in Melbourne. His reputation rests chiefly upon a novel called ‘His Natural Life,’ 1874, a very strongly written story, which met with high praise from English and foreign reviews. It has been republished in London by Bentley, 1875 and 1878, in New York by Harper Brothers, and in Germany by the firm of Otto Hanke, under the title of ‘De portirt auf Lebenszeit.’ He was also the author of ‘Holiday Peak,’ a collection of stories, and wrote the letterpress to ‘Pictures in the National Gallery, Melbourne,’ by T. F. Chuck, 1873. He died in Melbourne, 2 Aug. 1881, aged only 35. He married in 1868 Marion, the second daughter of John Dunn, the well-known comedian.
[Men of the Time in Australia, Victorian Series (1878), p. 36; Heaton's Australian Dictionary of Dates (1879), p. 39; Times, 28 Sept. 1881, p. 6.]