Letters to the Editor

Philip Drew et al.
Published in March 2014 no. 359

Harry Seidler and posterity

Dear Editor,

Congratulations for publishing Philip Goad’s excellent review of Helen O’Neill’s biography of Harry Seidler (February 2014), which was a complete contrast to Elizabeth Farrelly’s derogatory review in the Sydney Morning Herald (11–12 January 2014).

Goad is right to stress Seidler’s internationalism and to point out there were other émigré architects besides Seidler who deserved recognition. Australian architects such as Sydney Ancher, Morton Herman, Arthur Baldwinson, and Raymond McGrath not only knew about but designed modern buildings in advance of Seidler’s arrival in Australia. Ancher’s Prevost house at Bellevue Hill in 1937 was the real thing. By comparison, the Rose Seidler house, designed for a site at Foxborough in the United States, was a deft instance of rubber-stamp modernism that ended up by accident in Killara.

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Published in March 2014 no. 359

Comments (1)

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    I am disappointed to witness this silly spat between two intelligent editors/writers. Intelligent, because they like many of us know that the attribute ‘best’ in the ‘Best Series’ of BlackInc is not only pretentious, arrogant but a clever marketing device. Some essays, stories and poems in the ‘Best Series’ are really good but to call them best is silly. There are many better essays, poems and stories published elsewhere in Australia. The same is true of the Australian Book Review. The reviews, essays, stories and poems published are often quite average. After the untimely demise of Helen Daniel, ABR has turned into a magazine which is good on style but quite average in substance. In this crazy market-driven world where everything has to be classified, rated, and listed, it would be better to avoid the temptation of competitions, awards and prizes. But this is not going to happen, so my humble suggestion to the two contestants is to be gracious in defeat and reconcile with each other’s limitations.

    Saturday, 01 March 2014 12:04 posted by Sjaireth

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