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Elizabeth Webby

Elizabeth Webby

Elizabeth Webby AM FAHA, was Professor of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney from 1990 until her retirement in March 2007. Her publications include Early Australian Poetry (1982), Colonial Voices (1989), Modern Australian Plays (1990), The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature (2000) and, as joint editor, Happy Endings (1987), Goodbye to Romance (1989), The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads (1993), Australian Feminism: A Companion (1998), and the Academy Edition of Rolf Boldrewood’s Robbery Under Arms (2006).  She was a contributing editor, responsible for the 19th century material, for the PEN Macquarie Anthology of Australian Literature (2009).

Elizabeth Webby reviews ‘Ever Yours, C.H. Spence: Catherine Helen Spence’s an autobiography (1825–1910), diary (1894) and some correspondence (1894–1910)’ edited by Susan Magarey

February 2006, no. 278 01 February 2006
As Nicholas Jose observed in the November 2005 issue of ABR, the face of South Australian novelist Catherine Spence, currently featured on our $5 note, circulates much more widely than any of her books. Like those of several other nineteenth-century Australian women writers, Spence’s novels were revived in the 1980s but are now once again out of print. So this new edition of her autobiography, e ... (read more)

'Revisiting Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia' by Elizabeth Webby

May 2009, no. 311 01 May 2009
Baz Luhrmann’s epic film Australia may not have won any Oscars or attracted hordes of overseas tourists, but it has had at least one positive outcome. HarperCollins reissued Xavier Herbert’s equally epic Capricornia (1938), one of many acknowledged influences on the film, another being Herbert’s even longer novel, Poor Fellow My Country (1975). While visiting New Zealand recently, I was deli ... (read more)

Elizabeth Webby reviews 'The Giraffe's Uncle' by Les Robinson, 'My Love Must Wait' by Ernestine Hill, 'The Sundowners' by Jon Cleary and 'The Treatment and The Cure' by Peter Kocan

December 2002-January 2003, no. 247 16 September 2022
As HarperCollins continues to release this welcome series of Australian reissues, it’s especially pleasing to see them including less well-known, even long-forgotten, titles. While I had read none of these latest offerings, I did at least know something about three of the authors. Les Robinson, however, was almost a complete mystery. ‘Almost’ because I had a vague memory of one of his storie ... (read more)

'‘Classic’ Reissues', an essay by Elizabeth Webby

July 2001, no. 232 01 July 2001
A few weeks ago, I attended the session on ‘What is an Australian Classic?’ during the Sydney Writers’ Festival. My own definition of what makes a classic is a simple one: a book from the past that retains significance, that still entertains and enlightens us, even though we may respond to it in quite different ways from its initial readers. In some cases, of course, classics were not so hig ... (read more)

Elizabeth Webby reviews 'Pen Portraits: Women writers and journalists in nineteenth century Australia' by Patricia Clarke

December 1988, no. 107 01 December 1988
About ten years ago, I was asked to give a talk to a Sydney group of Australian writers. (Actually, they asked Leonie Kramer, but she was busy.) I decided to talk on ‘Some unknown Australian women writers of the nineteenth century’ in ‘the hope of interesting some of them in researching the lives and careers of their predecessors. ... (read more)

Elizabeth Webby reviews 'Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the fiction of Peter Carey' edited by Andreas Gaile

April 2006, no. 280 01 April 2006
In the last essay in this collection, Robert Macfarlane touches on the main reasons why Peter Carey’s novels ‘have proved so very attractive to academic exegetes’, in their combination of the postmodern and the postcolonial. Just how attractive is demonstrated in the sixty-page bibliography, which is sure to be one of the most used parts of Fabulating Beauty, especially by overseas readers w ... (read more)