Biography

Brenda Niall reviews 'Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a lady novelist' by Anne Boyd Rioux

Brenda Niall
22 August 2016

If Constance Fenimore Woolson is remembered today, it is likely to be as a friend of Henry James, and a minor character in his much-chronicled life. Anne Boyd Rioux's ...

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Simon Caterson reviews 'Brett Whiteley: Art, life and the other thing' by Ashleigh Wilson

Simon Caterson
22 August 2016

Notwithstanding the fact that he died alone in a hotel room following a heroin overdose at the age of fifty-three, Brett Whiteley led what for an Australian artist ...

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Robin Gerster reviews 'Our Man Elsewhere: In search of Alan Moorehead' by Thornton McCamish

Robin Gerster
22 August 2016

You have to admire the professional writer who describes the chore of churning out the daily ration of words as 'like straining shit through a sock', ...

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Peter Heerey reviews 'Tom Hughes QC: A cab on the rank' by Ian Hancock

Peter Heerey
25 July 2016

The subtitle of this compellingly readable biography of Thomas Eyre Forrest Hughes AO QC borrows the underlying philosophical metaphor of the independent Bar ...

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Kevin Rabalais reviews 'The Last Love Song: A biography of Joan Didion' by Tracy Daugherty

Kevin Rabalais
25 July 2016

For many young writers, Julian Wasser's 1968 Time magazine photograph of Joan Didion posed in front of her yellow Corvette remains the epitome of cool ...

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Ian Donaldson reviews 'Hegel's Owl: The life of Bernard Smith' by Sheridan Palmer

Ian Donaldson
21 July 2016

Hoping to travel to Vienna in the summer of 1950 through a part of Austria then under Soviet control, Bernard Smith sought an interview in Prague with an officer ...

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Dina Ross reviews 'The Amazing Mrs. Livesey' by Freda Marnie Nicholl

Dina Ross
24 May 2016

Ethel Livesey was a piece of work. By the time she stood trial in 1946, she had already served several terms in prison. The serial fraudster had accumulated more than ...

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Michael McGirr reviews 'The Fighter' by Arnold Zable

Michael McGirr
23 May 2016

Arnold Zable may be unafraid of pain, but he is no masochist. Masochism wants to control pain: Zable is much more of a liberator. Since the publication of his first book ...

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Suzanne Falkiner reviews 'Outback Penguin: Richard Lane's Barwell diaries' edited by Elizabeth Lane et al.

Suzanne Falkiner
26 April 2016

On 7 September 1922, seventeen-year-old Richard Lane left England on a six-week voyage to Australia, not to set foot in his home country again for three and a half years. For much of the intervening time he would work as a government-funded 'Barwell Boy', or indentured farm labourer, on small rural holdings outside Adelaide and in western New South Wales.

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Diana Glenn reviews 'Dante: The story of his life' by Marco Santagata

Diana Glenn
26 April 2016

This sumptuous volume by Marco Santagata, professor of Italian Literature at the University of Pisa, offers the reader a richly documented and often gripping account of the development, peregrinations, and shifting fortunes of the celebrated poet Durante (Dante) Alighieri. Comprising ten chapters, the volume has an internal division in two parts, with the first cove ... More

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