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Nancy Keesing

Nancy Keesing

Nancy Keesing AM (1923-93) was a Jewish Australian poet, writer, editor and promoter of Australian literature.

Nancy Keesing reviews 'A Fortunate Life' by A.B. Facey

May 1981, no. 30 01 May 1981
I am sure A.B. Facey intended no irony in calling his remarkable autobiography A Fortunate Life. He is at once too unassuming and, too serious for smart games with words though he does find humour sometimes among the grim and frightful events of his earlier years and, after his perfect marriage, there were times of fulfilment and true happiness. He has chosen to emphasise triumphs as well as strug ... (read more)

'Food, Wind, Dreams and Books' by Nancy Keesing

June 1979, no. 11 01 June 1979
One late afternoon in early summer I went to the launching of Helen Arbib’s Looking at Cooking (Helen Arbib Publications, $3.50, 80 pp) in a beautifully restored and reanimated old house in the Rocks area of Sydney. On the way to Lower Fort Street I’d indulged in one of my favourite meanderings past sentimental landmarks. Among these is a section of Windmill Street, and the Hero of Waterloo Ho ... (read more)

Nancy Keesing reviews 'The World of Norman Lindsay' edited by Lin Bloomfield and 'A letter from Sydney' edited by John Arnold

October 1983, no. 55 01 October 1983
The World of Norman Lindsay is compiled by Lin Bloomfield, proprietor of the Bloomfield Galleries in Paddington, NSW, and an authority on Lindsay’s work. It was first published more expensively in 1979. This elegant paperback will make it widely accessible, which is a matter for satisfaction. It contains comprehensive, short, expert articles about Lindsay’s life and achievements as an artist a ... (read more)

Nancy Keesing reviews 'The Journalistic Javelin: an illustrated history of the Bulletin' by Patricia Rolfe

June 1980, no. 21 08 August 2022
The Bulletin, The Bulletin, The journalistic Javelin, The paper all the humor’s in The paper every rumor’s in The paper to inspire a grin The Bulletin. The Bulletin. (The Bulletin, 28 May 1887) Though I’d been looking forward to this book I had doubts about reviewing it. By definition it must touch on personal loyalties and friendships, and then, too, I had preconceptions about Bu ... (read more)

Nancy Keesing reviews 'Love and the Outer World: Selected poems' by R.G. Hay

May 1985, no. 70 01 May 1985
It was my good fortune to be born into a family for whom books and paintings had a central place. My parents subscribed to an excellent lending library and were adventurous readers of novels. During the Depression they could not often afford to buy a painting, but they went to art shows and Sunday visits to the Art Gallery of New South Wales were frequent in my childhood. ... (read more)

Nancy Keesing reviews 'Unreliable Memoirs' by Clive James

October 1980, no. 25 01 October 1980
Douglas Stewart has pointed out that James Joyce and Henry Lawson, opposites in art, and living at opposite ends of the earth, once wrote the same story and, each in his own way, made a masterpiece of it. The funeral of Dignam in Ulysses is the same story as Lawson’s ‘The Union Buries Its Dead’. In ‘Dublin and the Bush’ (The Flesh and the Spirit) he persuasively developed this argument. ... (read more)

Nancy Keesing reviews 'One Continuous Picnic: A history of eating in Australia' by Michael Symons

February–March 1983, no. 48 01 February 1983
Adam Smith’s economics foresaw that capital would seek new ways to save us kitchen time, to brighten the dinner table and to stop us for a roadside snack, but each time an investment saved a minute here, lifted a moment there, filled a gap in the market, it separated eaters further from the source of food. The ‘middle­man’ slandered agrarian values, insulated us from the seasons, took ... (read more)

Nancy Keesing reviews 'Behind the Lines: One woman's war 1914–18: The Letters of Caroline Ethel Cooper' edited by Decie Denholm

July 1982, no. 42 01 July 1982
The letters which form the body of this book are well edited and displayed, the biographical notes, although from necessity they are usually brief, are valuable – in these ways Decie Denholm has been a keen and careful editor. More about the letters later. First though, increasingly I find it tiresome and misleading when historians like Decie Denholm use catchphrases like ‘the Victorian mould ... (read more)

Nancy Keesing reviews 'Plumb' by Maurice Gee and 'Approaches' by Garry Disher

May 1982, no. 40 01 May 1982
In a way, two words suffice for Plumb. Read it. It would be fair to add, ‘Make yourself read it.’ The inexorable, old man’s voice of its narrator George Plumb may irritate you, but before long you will respect his unrelenting and unsparing honesty with himself and his memories, and you will realise that everything he says has its place in this splendidly fashioned novel. At the end, he write ... (read more)

Nancy Keesing reviews 'Slipstream' by Roger McDonald

June 1982, no. 41 24 July 2020
Aviation was a myth still in the making to my generation of Australian children. We cricked our necks watching a patch of sky for Amy Johnson’s arrival and, indeed, whenever an aeroplane engine was heard aloft, as if the watching itself was a necessary act of will, or prayer, to ensure the safety of those magnificent men and women whose photographs showed them always ear-muffed, be-goggled and l ... (read more)
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