The Giraffe's Uncle by Les Robinson & My Love Must Wait by Ernestine Hill
It’s not often that literature makes the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald, but on 3 November 2006 the lead story was a report by David Marr about the National Library of Australia’s purchase of a collection of Patrick White’s papers, previously thought destroyed. Other media, both in Australia and internationally, picked up the story. The T ...
Baz Luhrmann’s epic film Australia may not have won any Oscars or attracted hordes of overseas tourists, but it has had at least one positive outcome. HarperCollins reissued Xavier Herbert’s equally epic Capricornia (1938), one of many acknowledged influences on the film, another being Herbert’s even longer novel, Poor Fellow My Country (1975). While visiting New Zealand recently, I was delighted to see the handsome new edition of one of Australia’s greatest novels prominently displayed in bookshops.... (read more)
Robbery Under Arms by Rolf Boldrewood, edited by Paul Eggert and Elizabeth Webby
Fabulating Beauty: Perspectives on the fiction of Peter Carey edited by Andreas Gaile
A few weeks ago, I attended the session on ‘What is an Australian Classic?’ during the Sydney Writers’ Festival. My own definition of what makes a classic is a simple one: a book from the past that retains significance, that still entertains and enlightens us, even though we may respond to it in quite different ways from its initial readers. In some cases, of course, classics were not so highly regarded on first publication. Even Gerard Windsor, at the festival, had to concede that Joyce’s Ulysses was a classic; it was of course banned in Australia, and elsewhere, for many years. And one of the eight titles in the first series of A&R Classics, Come in Spinner ($21.95pb, 0 207 19756 3), also received a very mixed reception, as one of its authors, Florence James, remembers in the introduction she wrote in 1988 for the first printing of the unedited version of the novel. In 1951, the Sydney Daily Telegraph called Come in Spinner ‘a muckraking novel fit for the literary dustbin’, even though it had earlier won the newspaper’s own novel competition!... (read more)
John Hanrahan reviews 'A.D. Hope' by Kevin Hart, 'James McAuley' by Lyn McCredden, 'Peter Porter' by Peter Steele, 'Reconnoitres' edited by Margaret Harris & Elizabeth Webby, 'Annals of Australian Literature' edited by Joy Hooton & Harry Heseltine
Oxford University Press has begun a welcome series called Australian Writers. Two further titles, Imre Salusinszky on Gerald Murnane and Ivor Indyk on David Malouf, will appear in March 1993, and eleven more books are in preparation. Though I find the first three uneven in quality, they make a very promising start to a series. In some ways they resemble Oliver and Boyd’s excellent series, Writers and Critics, even being of about the same length. However this new series is less elementary, more demanding of the reader. It is, predictably, far sparser in critical evaluation, concentrating on hermeneutics, and biographical information is as rare as a wombat waltz.... (read more)