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John McLaren

John McLaren was founding editor of the second series of ABR (1978–1986).

'Obituary for A.A. Phillips – A man of letters' by John McLaren

December 1985–January 1986, no. 77 01 December 1985
Arthur Phillips, who died last month at the age of eighty-five, was one of the major figures of the democratic nationalist tradition in modern Australian literary criticism; and his collection of essays, The Australian Tradition (1958; second edition 1966) epitomises the strength of this school. These essays are marked by the perception of the reading behind them, the clarity of the writing in the ... (read more)

John Mclaren reviews 'Just City and the Mirrors: Meanjin Quarterly and the intellectual front, 1940–1965' by Lynne Strahan

September 1984, no. 64 01 September 1984
For thirty-four years Clem Christesen endured financial stringency, public apathy, political vilification, academic indifference, and institutional hostility in order to provide in the literary journal Meanjin a mirror that would provide for his fellow Australians the image of the just city. In her history of this endeavour, Lynne Strahan duly honours those who collaborated with Christesen in his ... (read more)

John McLaren reviews 'Double-Wolf' by Brian Castro

July 1991, no. 132 01 July 1991
Outside there is a row of walnut trees. On one of them seven white wolves are sitting. They are staring at him. From a high and supple branch, looking like a wolf, his sister Anna is swinging. Behind them, the city is on fire. Wolves and goats. The goats represent the ego. They control time, represent culture, continuity, the status quo. They live in the grandfather clock that is at once hist ... (read more)

John McLaren reviews 'The Salt of Broken Tears' by Michael Meehan

September 1999, no. 214 01 September 1999
In one sense, the publisher’s blurb on this novel says it all. On the edges of the salt lakes, in the harsh Mallee country of north-west Victoria in the 1920s, isolated soldier settler farms struggle to survive the dust and despair. There are few travellers: just the Debt Adjuster, or the Indian hawker Cabel Singh. Or a girl who turns up out of nowhere. Eileen. When Eileen disappears, a young ... (read more)

John McLaren reviews 'The Twyborn Affair' by Patrick White

November 1979, no. 16 28 October 2019
Like every one of his previous novels, Patrick White’s latest work is both utterly characteristic and completely unpredictable. With the third line, we know we are in for another of White’s dissections of human behavior. ‘“Bit rough, isn’t it?” her chauffeur ventured.’ The verb almost parodies White’s careful placing of human acts any other writer would – perhaps rightly – cons ... (read more)

John McLaren reviews 'Just Relations' by Rodney Hall and 'North Wind' by John Morrison

August 1982, no. 43 06 September 2019
These two works of fiction at first seem to offer only a contrast in literary style and method. John Morrison’s book is a collection of stories ranging from the title story, published in his first collection, Sailors Belong Ships (1947), to four not previously published in book form. It includes the powerful and characteristic ‘Pioneers’, set in the back country beyond Bendigo. In this the ... (read more)
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