Memoir

In one of my pedagogical fantasies, I design the curriculum for a course called ‘Modern Theories of Desire’. My students read Marx, Beauvoir, Foucault, and Butler. They study Hegel on desire’s organisation of the everyday relationship between the self and the world; some critiques of developmental psychology, a sociology ...

... (read more)

When the first volume in the Tales of the City series was published in 1978, Armistead Maupin tells us disarmingly in his new memoir, it flopped. Yet the series, which had begun as a newspaper serial in 1974, continued for a decade, with three more recent books bringing us up to date on the fate of the major characters ...

... (read more)

David Attenborough turned ninety last year. In a short animation celebrating his birthday, two Aardman penguins muse on their first meeting with the famous naturalist. ‘There’s something just about him,’ says the first penguin. ‘I don’t know why you wouldn’t love David Attenborough,’ declares the second. Indeed, it is hard to ...

... (read more)

Tina Brown hit the ground partying in New York when she arrived in 1983 to revive the struggling Condé Nast magazine ...

... (read more)

It is a colourful and turbulent life Alice Waters leads. Thankfully, it is turbulent in the fruitful sense, a process of regeneration and creation so nimbly edited into her autobiography ...

... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews 'Memoirs' by Mike Willesee

Richard Walsh
Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Mike Willesee has been one of the giants of the Australian media for over half a century. He was a major force in television for most of those years; but he began his life in print journalism and made a small fortune as the joint owner of 2Day FM when it was sold to the Lamb family. The memoir of such an important figure ...

... (read more)

Brenda Niall reviews 'A Life of My Own' by Claire Tomalin

Brenda Niall
Tuesday, 19 December 2017

When a biographer tells her own story, the rules change. Because the subject is the self, the problem is not so much a search for the unknown, but what to tell about the known and how to tell it. One of Britain’s finest biographers, Claire Tomalin, has spoken of her pleasure in ‘investigating’ other people’s lives. What happens ...

... (read more)

The literary world too often disdains comedy writing as unserious. It rarely features in our grander prizes, and is usually relegated to literature’s cheap seats. This is, of course, silly. Great comedy can make as many grave points about humanity as realist fiction. You just get to laugh along the way ...

... (read more)

Every Saturday around Australia, the suburbs hum with the sound of lawnmowers. While cutting grass, the mowers simultaneously decapitate the milk thistles (also known as sow thistles) that sprout in most gardens around the country. But this rude beheading is little more than an inconvenience from which these hardy plants soon recover. Perhaps this is ...

... (read more)

In the first chapter of her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy writes, ‘Daring to think that the rules do not apply is the mark of a visionary. It’s also a symptom of narcissism.’ Born in New York during the Reagan era, she is describing the world she grew up in, one in which you were told that you were in control of your ...

... (read more)