For those who think that opera in Australia only began to get off the ground this book will come as something of a shock. There was a time, over a hundred years ago, when enthusiastic audiences drawn from across the social spectrum supported ‘regular seasons of the world’s best musical theatre’ by a resident, commercial opera company which played in all the major capital cities.... (read more)
What an absolute wealth of detail this volume contains! There are colour and black and white photographs of every ballet personality to dance in Australia since the war and a comprehensive index for both performers and works.... (read more)
It seems that going to the theatre has always been a popular activity with Australians. Popular theatre during the period covered by this book (1834–1914) staged a remarkable variety of Australian plays: operettas, melodramas, burlesques, sensation plays, and extravaganzas. On Our Selection, the first play to be called ‘Australian through and through’, opened to an audience of more than a thousand and achieved tremendous popularity.... (read more)
In the advertising world there’s a new and controversial trend towards catering for the X-Generation; that is, consumers with a two-second attention span, and we’re not just talking about teenagers on rollerblades.... (read more)
The opening word of this collection of stylish essays in autobiography by David Malouf is ‘memory’; it is a word that recurs regularly throughout the text and a faculty that is central to most of Malouf’s work. Malouf is a writer perpetually in exile, forever dispossessed and these essays, like most of his fiction, are an attempt to recapture and retain a sense of the past; they repeat and reformulate themes that run through his creative writing. In particular, his most recent book, the collection of short stories Antipodes, can be seen to throw a good deal of light on this memoir. The author’s intimate relationship with his grandfather rather than his parents, the tension between the Old World and the New, the powers of language and narrative and the relationship between art and experience, the notion of, as one character puts it, ‘pushing ourselves to the limits of our young courage in outrageous dares’, and finally the paradoxically nostalgic rejection of the Brisbane of his boyhood to which he returns so often in his fiction – all these themes recur from the previous book and are elaborated on.... (read more)
Melbourne has Moomba and Melbourne Cup week. Sydney and Perth have cultural festivals. And so, pre-eminently, does Adelaide. Even from the backblocks of Melbourne, Adelaide Writers’ Week stirs up a real thrill.... (read more)
Many Australian publishers question the ability of overseas publishers to market and distribute a London published book by an Australian writer in Australia. The emotional and commercial commitment to a book by a distributor, they argue, is not the same as that of a publisher. An Australian publisher also has a better perception of the market and the quantities required. In the case of the market being underestimated, reprints of sufficient quantity can be supplied relatively quickly. In general my experience as a bookseller would confirm these comments.... (read more)
Penguin Books, which has just celebrated its fiftieth birthday, is widely known through its paperback publishing as the great populariser of literature in the English language.... (read more)
As mouths go, it must be one of the most fabled of the century past. The lips, as widely parted as they could be, suggest the contours of a distended heart. There is an upper gallery of teeth, slightly imperfect, and glazed by spittle mingling with the crystal darts and droplets of a powerful jet of water issuing relentlessly from above the face. A mottled tongue is ...
This six a.m. moment
in the cool-blue cool
of early morning
is not eternal.