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Jim Davidson

Jim Davidson

Jim Davidson is an historian and biographer, and a former editor of Meanjin. He is the author of A Three-Cornered Life: The historian WK Hancock (2010) and the memoir A Führer for a Father: The domestic face of colonialism (2017). His biographies Lyrebird Rising (of the musical patron Louise Hanson-Dyer) and A Three-Cornered Life (of the historian Keith Hancock) have won major awards. His most recent books are Moments in Time: A Book of Australian Postcards (2016) and A Führer for a Father (2017). He is currently writing a double biography of two literary magazine editors, Clem Christesen of Meanjin and Stephen Murray-Smith of Overland.

Jim Davidson reviews 'An Unconventional Wife: The life of Julia Sorell Arnold' by Mary Hoban

May 2019, no. 411 22 April 2019
The name of Julia Sorell – the granddaughter of an early governor – never quite died in Tasmania. A faint memory survived of a high-spirited young woman who was the belle of Hobart, a woman who broke hearts and engagements, including one with the current governor’s son. (It was also rumoured – with political intent – that she seduced his father, Sir John Eardley-Wilmot.) An element of sc ... (read more)

Jim Davidson reviews 'The Empire’s New Clothes: The myth of the Commonwealth' by Philip Murphy

January-February 2019, no. 408 28 November 2018
When I went to live in London in 1970, the dissolution of the British Empire had yet to reach its final stages. (While Fiji became independent that year, Hong Kong would not be transferred to China till 1997). The Commonwealth seemed like a glorious roseate hue, a spectacular sunset lingering after the sun had gone down: a device enabling the British to kid themselves that their world hadn’t rea ... (read more)

Barry Humphries: The Man Behind the Mask

ABR Arts 25 May 2018
‘I invented a character called Barry Humphries,’ the program promised. Beyond his characters, he said, the real man had always lurked behind a mask in various interviews. ‘Tonight you’ll see me.’ And there he was, in mauve jacket and polka dot tie, his features sharp, the voice crisper than ever ... but in fact he couldn’t do it. Humphries is too interwoven with his characters: they f ... (read more)
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