Told with great force, FOR THE TERM OF HIS NATURAL LIFE is a narrative of great suffering - of whips, chains and man's inhumanity. There is no attempt to soften the truth of degradation and dark cruelty in convict Australia. And yet the novel is filled with life, and peopled with vivid characters, Rufus Dawes, condemned to transportation for a crime he did not commit, is one of the most unforgettable characters of Australian literature. This is perhaps Australia's most significant and most famous 19-century colonial novel and has found success both in Australia and abroad - it has been translated into German, Dutch, Swedish and Russian. It was serialised from 1870 to 1872 and published as a work for the first time in Australia in 1874.
Marcus Clarke was born in London in 1846. As a result of the sudden death of his father he emigrated to Australia in 1863. He wrote for the Melbourne press and from 1868 to 1869 his first novel, LONG ODDS was serialised. He wrote plays, several of which were published, as well as collections of his stories and historical articles. He died in 1881.