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The World of Norman Lindsay edited by Lin Bloomfield & A Letter From Sydney edited by John Arnold

October 1983, no. 55

The World of Norman Lindsay is compiled by Lin Bloomfield, proprietor of the Bloomfield Galleries in Paddington, NSW, and an authority on Lindsay’s work. It was first published more expensively in 1979. This elegant paperback will make it widely accessible, which is a matter for satisfaction. It contains comprehensive, short, expert articles about Lindsay’s life and achievements as an artist and the reminiscences of Lindsay’s children, grandchildren, models, friends, and colleagues. Good illustrations, some in colour, cover every era of his works in all their variety, and the book also includes photographs of people and places.

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In a recent issue of the New York Review of Books, Gordon S. Wood lamented the current dominance of ‘monographic history’, a dominance which he claimed has brought ‘chaos’ to the discipline of history. Most works, he argued are so specific and technical that they are comprehensible only to a few specialists in each field. The title of this book might suggest that here is yet another study designed only to appeal to that hardy little band of historians who spend their professional lives grubbing through the records of early America.

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Sir Samuel Griffith was chief justice of the High Court of Australia for sixteen years, from October 1903 to October 1919; but he had effectively retired in July 1919. Sir John Latham was chief justice for sixteen and a half years, from October 1935 to April 1952; but he had effectively retired in May 1951. Thus, Sir Garfield Barwick, who last month completed his sixteenth year as chief justice, has already established a record for active service in the position; if he remains in office until 24 October this year, he will have broken even Lathams formal record.

The holder of such a record term of office as chief justice would, on that ground alone, be assured of a unique place in Australian legal history; but in Barwick’s case, the years as chief justice are only a climax – perhaps even an anti-climax – to an extraordinary career.

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