Log In

Alec Derwent Hope Edit Profile

educator , poet

Hope was an educator and poet. He believed that poetry was philosophical music, and his work dramatizes the ways in which a philosophical argument is best represented by analogy. He believed that all great poems include within their music an argument of some kind.Award 1966; Award for Literature 1969; Award for Poetry 1976.


Alec Derwent Hope was born in Cooma, New South Wales, on 21 July 1907, the first of four children of Percival (a clergyman) and Florence Ellen (Scotford) Hope. Most of his childhood was spent in rural New South Wales and in Campbell Town, Tasmania, where he was educated at home by his parents. His father began to teach him Latin (Julius Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars [52-51 B.C.] and passages from Livy) at the age of ten.

Coming home in the years of the Great Depression meant that work was impossible to find, and Hope's father sent him off to camp on a piece of land he owned near Bungan Head on the coast, paying him the equivalent of the dole.

Hope was finally transferred to Canberra in 1937 to Telopea Park High School. In 1937 he met Penelope Robinson, whom he married on 27 May 1937. The Hopes rented an abandoned house overlooking the harbor to Cockatoo Island. The Hopes' home was in an area that was considered a military target after Japan entered the war, and in 1940, with the birth of their first child, Emily, they moved to Castle Crag, at the northern edge of the city. The Hopes' two other children, twins Andrew and Geoffrey, were born in 1944. A. D. Hope died on 13 July 2000 in Canberra.


Hope graduated from Sydney University in 1928.In 1928 Hope was employed by the Sydney University Appeal. In the same year he was awarded the James King Travelling Scholarship, which allowed him to accept a place at University College, Oxford. From 1929 to 1930 Hope read English at Oxford University. Hope received a third-class honors degreе.


Lecturer Sydney Teachers’ College, and Senior Lecturer Melbourne University. Professor, of English, School of General Studies, Australian National University 1951-1968. Library Fellow. Australian National University 1969-1972.

Retired 1973; Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge 1986. Honorary Fellow, University College, Oxford 1986. Fellow, Australian Academy, of the Humanities.

Honorary Doctor of Letters (Australian National University) 1972, (New England) 1973, (Monash) 1976, (Melbourne) 1976. Arts Council.


  • Other Work

    • The Wandering Islands 1955, Poems 1960, The Cave and the Spring 1965, Collected Poems 1966, New Poems 1965-1969, Dunciad Minor 1970, A Midsummer Eve’s Dream 1970, Collected Poems 1930-1970 1972, Selected Poems 1973, Native Companions 1974, A Late Picking 1975, A Book of Answers 1978, The New Cratylus 1979, The Pack of Autolycus 1979, The Drifting Continent 1979, Antechinus 1981, Doctor Faustus 1982, Tre Volti dell’Amore 1982, The Age of Reason 1985, Selected Poems 1986, Ladies from the Sea 1987, The Shorter Lyrics of Catullus (translated) 1989, The Lyrics of Luis Vaz de Camoens, A Selection (with Isabel Martinho, translated) 1989, verse and criticism in numerous magazines, including Meanjin, Southerly, M.U.M., Hermes, Quadrant, Westerly, Overland and The Southern Review.


  • Australian Academy Humanities.


  • Other Interests

    Camping, travel, reading, music.


Married Penelope Robinson in 1938.


Florence Ellen Scotford

Penelope Robinson