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A desert rover

by
December 2005–January 2006, no. 277

Dance of the Nomad: A study of the selected notebooks of A.D. Hope by Ann McCulloch

Pandanus, $45 pb, 397 pp

A desert rover

by
December 2005–January 2006, no. 277

Here is an entry in one of A.D. Hope’s notebooks: it is from 1961: ‘Ingenious devices for letting in the light without allowing you to see out, such as modern techniques provide – e.g., glass brick walls, crinkle-glass, sanded glass and so on – remind me very much of most present-day forms of education.’ This is a representative passage from the notebooks. Lucid itself, it bears on elements of frustration or nullification in experience. As such, it testifies to Hope’s recurrent sense that human beings can easily mislocate their ingenuity, with results that are both memorable and regrettable. In a later notebook, in 1978, speaking of the labyrinth as a model of human life, he writes: ‘Looking back one sees that comparatively trivial blind choices have often determined one’s course and that the majority of people do end up in blind alleys.’ One might contest the generalisation, but will not easily forget the analogy.

Peter Steele review ‘Dance of the Nomad: A study of the selected notebooks of A.D. Hope’ by Ann McCulloch

Dance of the Nomad: A study of the selected notebooks of A.D. Hope

by Ann McCulloch

Pandanus, $45 pb, 397 pp

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