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ABR Arts

Book of the Week

Hazzard and Harrower: The letters

Hazzard and Harrower: The letters edited by Brigitta Olubas and Susan Wyndham

‘Everyone allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female.’ So said Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey. Even allowing for Regency hyperbole, there is some truth in the sally. We think of the inimitable letters of Emily Dickinson, who once wrote to a succinct correspondent: ‘It were dearer had you protracted it, but the Sparrow must not propound his crumb.’ In 2001, Gregory Kratzmann edited A Steady Stream of Correspondence: Selected Letters of Gwen Harwood, 1943-1995. Anyone who ever received a letter or postcard from Harwood – surely our finest letter writer – knows what an event that was. She was nonpareil: witty, astringent, frank, irrepressible. Now we have this welcome collection of letters written by Elizabeth Harrower and Shirley Hazzard (unalphabetised on the cover, in a possible concession to the expatriate Hazzard’s international fame).




From the Archive

May 2007, no. 291

A New Melba?: The tragedy of Amy Castles by Jeff Brownrigg

The roll-call of Australian female singers of the past resounds like a comforting resurrection of anachronisms: Ada Crosley, Florence Austral, Gertrude Johnson and the epitome of stardom, Melba. The name Amy Castles represents another thing, as Jeff Brownrigg’s recent addition to the cultural history of early Australian songbirds attests. Born into a Catholic and unmusical background in Bendigo in 1880, she was destined to suffer a condition not unknown to musical novitiates: vastly more hype than talent or accomplishment.

From the Archive

November 2009, no. 316

Advances - November 2009

The ABR FAN Poll

Film-makers are forever squabbling over the Top Ten films of all time – a kind of Raging Bullfight – and the symphonists had their sonorous say recently, when ABC Classic FM invited listeners to nominate their classic 100 symphonies. So we thought it might be fun – instructive too – to poll our readers with regard to their Favourite Australian Novel.

From the Archive