Nicholas Jose

Nicholas Jose

His seven novels and two collections of short stories include Paper NautilusThe Red Thread and Original Face. His acclaimed memoir Black Sheep: Journey to Borroloola appeared in 2002. He was general editor of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009) and has written widely on contemporary Australian and Asian art and literature. In 2002-05 he was President of Sydney PEN. He was Visiting Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University, 2009-10, and is an adjunct professor with the Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney. He was Chair of Creative Writing at The University of Adelaide 2005-08, where he is now Professor of English and Creative Writing.

Nicholas Jose reviews 'Eurasia without Borders: The dream of a leftist literary commons 1919–1943' by Katerina Clark

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
Nicholas Jose reviews 'Eurasia without Borders: The dream of a leftist literary commons 1919–1943' by Katerina Clark
In the time before festivals, writers used to attend congresses to perform their role as ‘the unacknowledged legislators of the world’ in Shelley’s fine phrase. A who’s who of literary leftists and liberals gathered in Paris for the First International Congress of  Writers for the Defense of Culture in 1935, in solidarity against the rise of fascism across Europe. Nettie Palmer was a mem ... (read more)

Nicholas Jose reviews 'The Gleaner Song: Selected poems' by Song Lin, translated by Dong Li and 'Vociferate | 詠' by Emily Sun

September 2021, no. 435 19 August 2021
Nicholas Jose reviews 'The Gleaner Song: Selected poems' by Song Lin, translated by Dong Li and 'Vociferate | 詠' by Emily Sun
The Chinese poet is so often a wanderer and an exile. The tradition goes back to Qu Yuan (c.340–278 BCE), author of ‘Encountering Sorrow’, the honest official who was banished from court and drowned himself in a river, and it continues to our time. During the Sino–Japanese war (1937–45) a group of patriotic early Chinese modernists were displaced from their Beijing universities to an imp ... (read more)

'Australian literature and the missing body: The general editor of a major new anthology describes its genesis and scope' by Nicholas Jose

July-August 2009, no. 313 01 July 2009
The physiotherapist I saw for a pinched nerve in my back not long ago turned out to be an avid reader of fiction. She would work her way through the Booker shortlist each year. But she wouldn’t read Australian novels. As she pummelled my knotted flesh, I wondered if this was the right moment to admit that I was a person who wrote such things. She explained that, having moved to Australia from So ... (read more)

Nicholas Jose reviews 'Another Country' by Nicolas Rothwell

March 2007, no. 289 01 March 2007
Nicholas Jose reviews 'Another Country' by Nicolas Rothwell
‘The nearest thing on earth to a Black Australian is a White Australian, and vice versa,’ observed novelist and poet Randolph Stow some years ago. Nicolas Rothwell might have pondered the idea on his more recent wanderings as northern correspondent for the Australian. His north is not simply geographical. It fans south and west from Darwin, and east as far as Arnhem Land. Its core is in the Ce ... (read more)

'The Disappearing Act of Translation' by Nicholas Jose

June 2007, no. 292 01 June 2007
'The Disappearing Act of Translation' by Nicholas Jose
The world we live in provides us with a great deal of information that is not really intended to inform. We must be informed, for example, that a phone call is being recorded for training purposes. Thus language becomes an accessory to the black arts of spin, propaganda, manipulation and arse-covering. Words are twisted and violated, making it difficult to recover the meanings, the distinctions, t ... (read more)

Nicholas Jose reviews 'John Shaw Neilson: A life in letters' by Helen Hewson

April 2001, no. 229 01 April 2001
Nicholas Jose reviews 'John Shaw Neilson: A life in letters' by Helen Hewson
How good is Shaw Neilson? The question has hung around ever since A.G. Stephens, publishing the poet’s first book, Heart of Spring, in 1919, prefaced it with comparisons to Shakespeare and Blake and declared this unknown to be the ‘first of Australian poets’. The claim provoked competitive jealousies in a possessive, parochial literary world and reviewers responded by insinuating doubts. The ... (read more)

Nicholas Jose reviews 'One Day I’ll Remember This: Diaries 1987–1995' by Helen Garner

December 2020, no. 427 20 November 2020
Nicholas Jose reviews 'One Day I’ll Remember This: Diaries 1987–1995' by Helen Garner
‘Unerring muse that makes the casual perfect’: Robert Lowell’s compliment to his friend Elizabeth Bishop comes to mind as I read Helen Garner. She is another artist who reveres the casual for its power to disrupt and illuminate. Nothing is ever really casual for her, but rather becomes part of a perfection that she resists at the same time. The ordinary in these diaries – the daily, the di ... (read more)

Nicholas Jose reviews 'The China Journals: Ideology and intrigue in the 1960s' by Hugh Trevor-Roper, edited by Richard Davenport-Hines

November 2020, no. 426 22 October 2020
Nicholas Jose reviews 'The China Journals: Ideology and intrigue in the 1960s' by Hugh Trevor-Roper, edited by Richard Davenport-Hines
When the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) invited Hugh Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor of History at the University of Oxford, to visit China in 1965, he jumped at the chance. It was a decision that all parties concerned came to regret. The eminent historian had a terrible time in China, ‘that land of bigots and parrots’. He didn’t meet the right people. He found no intellectual ... (read more)

Nicholas Jose reviews 'Jack Maggs' by Peter Carey

August 1997, no. 193 01 August 1997
Nicholas Jose reviews 'Jack Maggs' by Peter Carey
Peter Carey has constructed a labyrinth. Let me gropingly try to lead you through it. The year is 1837. A convict, transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life, returns to London intent on finding the boy who years before did him a kindness. The boy, Henry Phipps, has grown up a gentleman, thanks to the money the convict, Jack Maggs, has regularly remitted from the colony. Now M ... (read more)

Nicholas Jose reviews 'A New Literary History of Modern China' edited by David Der-Wei Wang

January–February 2018, no. 398 30 November 2017
Nicholas Jose reviews 'A New Literary History of Modern China' edited by David Der-Wei Wang
In his searching introduction to this immense volume, the editor, Harvard scholar David Der-Wei Wang, refers to the ‘architectonics of temporalities’ by which the project re-maps and re-chronicles Chinese literary history. A New Literary History of Modern China follows the model of the provocatively kaleidoscopic slice histories of French, German, and American literatures produced by Harvard U ... (read more)
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