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Gillian Dooley

Gillian Dooley is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in English at Flinders University, and a Visiting Fellow in the Music Department at Southampton University. Her publications include an edited book of interviews with Iris Murdoch (2003), V.S. Naipaul, Man and Writer (2006), J.M. Coetzee and the Power of Narrative (2010), and journal articles on a range of literary topics including music in the life and work of Jane Austen. In 2005 she co-edited Matthew Flinders’ Private Journal and in 2014 she published an edition of the correspondence between Iris Murdoch and the Australian radical philosopher Brian Medlin. She has been a regular reviewer for ABR since 2002. She is founding editor of the online journals Transnational Literature and Writers in Conversation.

Gillian Dooley reviews ‘Old Myths: Modern empires: power, language and identity in J.M. Coetzee’s work’ by Michela Canepari-Labib

November 2006, no. 286 01 November 2006
Michela Canepari-Labib is an Italian scholar of English literature and cultural theory. In Old Myths: Modern Empires, she sets out to map J.M. Coetzee’s work onto the major cultural theories of the twentieth century. Coetzee is just as familiar as she with the theories, and no doubt they have had their influence. But anyone can write novels based on Freud and Lacan: what is missing from Canepari ... (read more)

Gillian Dooley reviews 'A Matter of Principle: New meetings with the good, the great and the formidable' by Jana Wendt

September 2008, no. 304 01 September 2008
Jana Wendt has conducted her share of difficult and confronting interviews with public figures during her television career, but rather than rehashing old encounters for this book, she spoke afresh to thirteen people, naming each interview after a principle the subject nominated, or one that ‘seemed to me to most obviously propel the thinking and attitudes of the person in question’. She does ... (read more)

'Coetzee’s Freedom' by Gillian Dooley

September 2006, no. 284 01 September 2006
In the 1980s, when it seemed that the situation in South Africa would never improve, debate raged about the responsibility of South African novelists to act as witnesses to, and opponents of, apartheid. Some believed that white writers, especially, should use their privileged position in the fight. Nadine Gordimer was prominent among those who felt it was essential to be, in J.M. Coetzee’s words ... (read more)

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Letters of George & Elizabeth Bass' by Miriam Estensen

April 2009, no. 310 01 April 2009
In the shadow of the famous romance of Ann and Matthew Flinders lies another, even sadder love story, between Flinders’s partner in exploration George Bass and his wife, Elizabeth. Bass and Flinders are so firmly bracketed in the Australian historical imagination that it comes as a surprise to find that the only references to Flinders in this collection of the Bass letters come from Elizabeth. F ... (read more)

Gillian Dooley reviews 'Books As History: The importance of books beyond their texts' by David Pearson

May 2009, no. 311 01 May 2009
A popular myth holds that all librarians are inspired by a love of books. As with all such stereotypes, it doesn’t take long working in the profession to realise that it is only partly true, only slightly more so than the cardigan, bun and glasses with which we are usually endowed in the popular imagination. Librarians, in fact, whatever their initial sentiments about books, commonly become blas ... (read more)

Gillian Dooley reviews 'Boys of Summer' by Peter Skrzynecki

May 2010, no. 321 01 May 2010
A generation of Australian schoolchildren knows Peter Skrzynecki’s poetry. The simple, direct language of Immigrant Chronicle (1975) speaks of both the desolation and optimism of the postwar migrant. Boys of Summer, Skrzynecki’s third venture into book-length fiction, treads similar thematic terrain. The Krupas are Polish Catholics displaced by the war. By the 1950s they have settled in an ou ... (read more)

Gillian Dooley reviews 'Men Of Bad Character' by Kathleen Stewart

June 2010, issue no. 322 01 June 2010
When Rose, the narrator of Kathleen Stewart’s Men of Bad Character, first visits the bathroom of Gary Gravelly, ‘there in the toilet bowl, frayed around the edges and so long languishing that it had stained the water, was the most enormous rope of turd. That, I said to myself, is the death of romance.’ Rose soon forgets, overwhelmed by the boyish charm of her new lover, but the reader is lef ... (read more)

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Journal of Fletcher Christian: Together with the history of Henry Corkhill' by Peter Corris

October 2005, no. 275 01 October 2005
Of all places on earth, Pitcairn Island must surely have the strangest history. Everyone knows about the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789 (not a bad year for uprisings) and about the settlement founded by the mutineers and their Tahitian consorts on this remote Pacific island. Now Peter Corris has created a fiction based on a distant family connection between Fletcher Christian and Corris himself, thr ... (read more)

Gillian Dooley reviews 'Alan Moorehead: A Rediscovery' by Ann Moyal

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
Alan Moorehead, journalist and historian, was a celebrity in his day, but has not had the lasting reputation of others of his generation, such as George Johnston, perhaps because he never wrote a great novel. (Would Johnston still be famous had he not written My Brother Jack?) Furthermore, Moorehead’s historical works, while widely read, were not rated highly by academic historians, and thus hav ... (read more)