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Richard Freadman

Richard Freadman

Richard Freadman is Emeritus Professor of English and retired Director of the Unit for Biographical and Autobiographical Studies at La Trobe University. His books in the area of life-writing are the memoir, Shadow of Doubt: My father and myself (2003); Threads of Life: Autobiography and the will (2001); and This Crazy Thing a Life: Australian Jewish autobiography (2007). His second memoir, Stepladder to Hindsight, was published by Hybrid in 2016.

Richard Freadman reviews ‘The Hollow Tree’ by Jacob G. Rosenberg

October 2009, no. 315 01 October 2009
Jacob Rosenberg completed the manuscript of The Hollow Tree shortly before his death in October 2008. Born in Lodz in 1922, he lived there until he was deported to Auschwitz, where he lost his entire immediate family. He was later a prisoner in the Woflsburg and Ebensee concentration camps. In 1948 he and his wife, Esther, emigrated to Australia, where they raised a family and built a successful c ... (read more)

Richard Freadman reviews 'Autographs' by Alex Skovron

February 2009, no. 308 01 February 2009
In one of these beautifully crafted prose poems, the speaker, recalling his childhood self, says that ‘I was gradually learning my own name, though there are times when the knowledge escapes me still, and another reveals itself’. This suggests complex trajectories of the self in time: self-knowledge comes ‘gradually’, but at times cedes to another, more profound, self-transcending form of ... (read more)

Richard Freadman reviews 'Between Sky and Sea' by Herz Bergner

November 2010, no. 326 01 November 2010
Herz Bergner arrived in Melbourne in 1938, having left Warsaw after Hitler’s rise to power. Already a published Yiddish short story writer, he joined a group of progressive Yiddish-speaking writers and thinkers who often gathered at the Kadimah Library in Carlton. As information about the Holocaust began to reach these shores, Bergner argued passionately for an increase in European immigration t ... (read more)

Richard Freadman reviews 'Rose Boys' by Peter Rose

October 2001, no. 235 01 October 2001
In February 1974, Robert Rose, a twenty-two-year-old Australian Rules footballer and Victorian state cricketer, was involved in a car accident that left him quadriplegic for the remaining twenty-five years of his life. The tragedy received extensive press coverage and struck a chord with many in and beyond the Melbourne sporting community. Robert was a brilliant all-round athlete with an impeccabl ... (read more)

Richard Freadman reviews 'Portraits from Life: Modernist novelists and autobiography' by Jerome Boyd Maunsell

Online Exclusives 31 December 2018
H.G. Wells, in his Experiment in Autobiography (1934), describes Henry James as ‘a strange unnatural human being’ who ‘regarded his fellow creatures with a face of distress and a remote effort at intercourse, like some victim of enchantment placed in the centre of an immense bladder’. Literary friendship and acquaintanceship, including the ways in which writer-colleagues portray one anothe ... (read more)

Richard Freadman reviews 'On Life-Writing' edited by Zachary Leader

April 2016, no. 380 30 March 2016
Zachary Leader, respected biographer of Kingsley Amis and Saul Bellow, and editor of this volume of commissioned essays, defines life writing as 'a range of writings about lives or parts of lives, or which provide materials out of which lives or parts of lives are composed'. This formulation reflects the book's method, which is to provide a 'sampling' of various periods, genres, issues in and appr ... (read more)