Robert Phiddian

Gabriella Coslovich reviews 'What Matters? Talking value in Australian Culture' by Julian Meyrick, Robert Phiddian, and Tully Barnett

Gabriella Coslovich
25 October 2018

As I sat down to write this review, a media release popped into my email inbox with the excited news that more than 400,000 people had visited the National Gallery of Victoria’s MoMA exh More

Robert Phiddian reviews 'Speaking of Universities' by Stefan Collini

Robert Phiddian
30 August 2017

It stands to reason, apparently, that universities are inefficient creatures that need ever more market discipline and corporate responsiveness to fulfil their potential. After all, what is education but an industry, and British industry is plainly more successful than British universities. Or perhaps not. Stefan Collini points acerbically to the fact that British i ... More

Robert Phiddian reviews 'An Essay on Man' by Alexander Pope, edited by Tom Jones

Robert Phiddian
30 November 2016

For the novice, Alexander Pope’s couplets can seem a numbing wilderness of equipoise – rhyme balanced against rhyme, half lines balanced around the caesura, regular iambs marching on to the end of pentametrical time (alternatively ‘to the edge of doom’). With a bit of experience as a reader, however, it is the wrought tension of Pope’s couplets that fascin ... More

The new biography of Jonathan Swift

Robert Phiddian
30 April 2014

Twelve years after Swift’s death, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu showed a visitor to her house in Venice a commode lined with books by Pope, Bolingbroke, and Swift. This, she explained, ‘gave her the satisfaction of shitting on them every day’. We still don’t know exactly what it was that caused her to fall out with Swift, Pope, and their friends in the 1720s, bu ... More

Robert Phiddian on 'Taking Stock: The Humanities in Australia'

Robert Phiddian
27 May 2013

This is a highly intelligent collection of essays by some of the nation’s finest minds about the ebb and flow of intellectual endeavour in the humanities since the institution of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1969. In the thirty-one essays – built around keynotes, panels, and responses – there are too many gems among them for me to be willing to ... More

Robert Phiddian reviews 'Bad News: Murdoch’s Australian and the Shaping of the Nation' by Robert Manne

Robert Phiddian
25 October 2011

Were I Editor in Chief of The Australian for a day, the first thing I would do is can the ‘Cut and Paste’ section on the Letters page. Its schoolyard bullying of the fools and knaves idiotic enough to oppose the paper’s line – usual suspects include Fairfax journalists, the ABC, Greens politicians, Tim Flannery, and Robert Manne – lies at the hear ... More