Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Anthony J Hassal

Professor Hassall’s study of Randolph Stow is indeed a strange country. A text which sets out to establish Stow as ‘a more important writer than is generally recognized’ and to show that his ‘best work bears comparison with Patrick White’s’ promises an intellectual engagement with either critics or the text or both which would lead to reassessment of Stow’s work. It appears that these are Aunt Sally’s – although Professor Leonie Kramer, who is presented as one of Stow’s ‘sterner “realist” critics’, can hardly be seen as such an aunt. Hassall puts her up but barely touches her, leaving the counterargument to Dorothy Green. Perhaps he’s being gentlemanly. However, to quote a paragraph from Green which asserts that ‘One of the greatest weaknesses of Australian criticism has always been its refusal to take religious ideas seriously’ is to take advantage of the lady. Hassall needs to fight his own battle against Leonie Kramer’s judgement of Stow’s work as being ‘quasi-religious’ and misguidedly experimental.

... (read more)

Visitants marks the welcome return of Randolph Stow the novelist. Stow’s last novel, The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea, appeared in 1965, and since then this once prolific writer has been extraordinarily reticent.

The publication of Visitants, the promise of a sequel in the near future, and, coincidentally, his selection for the Patrick White Award for 1979, may point to a decisive break in the long silence which has puzzled and indeed dismayed his admirers.

... (read more)