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October 2021, no. 436

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Book of the Week


Barbara Hepworth: Art and life by Eleanor Clayton

Constantin Brâncuşi famously said that making a work of art is not in itself a difficult thing: the hard part is putting oneself in the necessary state of mind. Eleanor Clayton’s new biography of English sculptor Barbara Hepworth is in its own way a celebration of just how devoted Hepworth was to maintaining that elusive state of mind to which Brâncuşi referred. Unlike Sally Festing’s Hepworth biography, A Life of Forms (1995), Clayton eschews any attempt to narrate or analyse Hepworth’s private feelings or emotional make-up. Instead she narrows her focus most austerely to the practice of the working sculptor, her aesthetic philosophies, and the compelling yet subtle variations of her output.




From the Archive

August 2005, no. 273

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Secret River' by Kate Grenville

Kate Grenville is a brave woman. For some years now, the representation of Aboriginal people by white writers has been hedged about by a thicket of post­colonial anxieties, profoundly problematic and important but too often manifested as hostile, holier-than-thou critique, indulging, at its most inept ..

From the Archive

April 2000, no. 219

The Smoking Book by Lesley Stern

When I was still a jot at uni, a medical student friend stumbled late out of her latest lecture and reassured me. And then she assured me, ‘It was horrible! We had slide after slide of some dead smoker’s lungs. And they were disgusting! I’m gonna be sick! Give me a cigarette!’ That’s when I first understood that ‘smoking’ was not ever going to be a straightforward subject.

From the Archive

May 2011, no. 331

Gaining a Sense of Self by Karen Laura-Lee Wilson

Gaining a Sense of Self is the record of Wilson’s first twenty-five years, a story that obviously took great courage to revisit, recreate, and publish. Born in 1942 to a couple whose marriage was already disintegrating, Wilson had a childhood of poverty, hunger, and abuse. Her father, initially absent because of his work in the navy, left the family when Wilson was six years old, and she rarely saw him after this. It was from her mother that Wilson suffered physical and psychological abuse. This appears to have started when Wilson was very young: she describes being battered by her mother when she accidentally broke a doll at the age of two.

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