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A rare foreign eye

August 2006, no. 283

Antipodes: The North American journal of Australian literature, Vol. 19, No. 2 by Nicholas Birns

US$18 pb, 135 pp

A rare foreign eye

August 2006, no. 283

Towards the end of the current issue of Antipodes (Vol. 19, No. 2, edited by Nicholas Birns, US$18 pb, 135 pp), Bev Braune asks the questions, ‘Who is the reader? And how many of us are there?’ Braune is not referring to Antipodes and its audience. Nonetheless, the questions stand. Academic journals challenge our more romantic notions of readers and reading. As a general rule, they make poor bedtime companions; they deter greenhorns and lotus-eaters; they tend not to provide diversion, entertainment or consolation; and they serve a public and professional, not a private and recreational, function. One could hazard that they exist less for readers than for writers – that they are less read than written for.

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