Nicholas Birns

Another poet might invoke Edmund Burke’s famous treatise on the Sublime and the Beautiful as a piece of phraseology or a pleasing adornment, but with John Kinsella, such a title is dead serious. Elliot Perlman’s superb novel Seven Types of Ambiguity (2003) ingeniously makes the reader think of William Empson’s, and the idea of plural signification it evokes, but not instantly to reread it. Kinsella’s use of Burke’s title prompts one to reread the original – ideally, in a Kinsellan métier, on the internet, late at night. Additionally, the ‘shades’ in Kinsella’s title is an important supplement – shades as variations, colourings, but also shadows, undertones.

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Letters to the Editor - April 2016

Thursday, 31 March 2016


Dear Editor,

As President of the Australian Historical Association, on 2 March I sent the following letter to the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia, (and copied it to the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition; Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts; and the Hon. Mark Dreyfus QC, MP, Shadow Minister for ...