John McLaren, who died peacefully in St Vincent's Private Hospital on 4 December 2015, was a man of many fine attributes and talents, not the least of which was his capacity for friendship. John had many close friends towards whom he showed great loyalty, affection, and generosity. They, in their turn, recognised the strength and quality of the quite precious bond h ...
Mark Davis’ Voltairean Gangland is one of those rare books that prise open a space for revaluation of the direction of a culture. Like The Dunciad’s evocation of the Grub Street hacks of its time, Gangland exposes tentacular networks of chummy patronage, mutual puffery, and cultural power. Gangland is especially enjoyable on the clown-like behaviour of the ex-Scripsi diaspora – in a curious sexual division of labour, a B-team of male critics, captained by the felicitously named P. Craven, has successfully promoted a coterie of writers like Jolley, Garner, and Modjeska. Compared to those I analyse in Australian Cultural Elites (1974) and In A Critical Condition (1984), this new élite is the most intellectually thin in Australian cultural history. Assisted by a passive, grovelling middle-class readership, it both creates such writers as canonical and then tries desperately to shield their texts from critique and challenge.... (read more)
The Ear in the Wheatfield: A Portrait of a Magazine edited by Kris Hemensley
Dhvanyaloka, the Literary Criterion Centre at Mysore, derives its names from a classic Indian work of literary criticism and, by way of Cambridge, from T.S. Eliot’s journal of the 1920s. The Indian work saw literature as a spreading of the light, Eliot saw it as the maintenance and renewal of tradition. Mysore, Professor C.D. Narasimhaiah applies these two principles to the study of Commonwealth literature.... (read more)