Monash contributor

Brian McFarlane reviews 'On Shakespeare' by John Bell

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask: Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge.
(Matthew Arnold, ‘Shakespeare’)

When Arnold wrote his famous sonnet, he could have been anticipating John Bell’s book, which repeatedly asks provocative questions about the man and the work that have been his ...

The title of this book might, to an innocent observer, suggest a triumphalist history, an impression that could be reinforced by the preface, which argues that the setting up of a squatters’ camp on the banks of the Yarra in 1835 ‘had a significance far beyond the baptism of a great city’, and concludes with the ...

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Cloudstreet

Brian McFarlane
Monday, 23 May 2011

Whereas the miniseries, most often based on revered literary texts, has been a staple of British television for fifty years, I could count on the fingers of a dismembered hand its Australian counterparts. In fact, the miniseries in general, as distinct from serials that run for a longer or shorter ...

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Lacking a titled aristocracy and the leisured class that went with it, Australian colonial society encouraged an egalitarianism of manners. This, however, did not reflect the absence of social stratification: rather, as it has been argued, it was a means of being reconciled to it in a new setting ...

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The Tempest

Brian McFarlane
Thursday, 21 April 2011

Anyone who remembers Julie Taymor’s 1999 version of Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s first published play, will not be expecting a reverential treatment of what is reputedly his last, but Taymor’s new film does move more or less inexorably to the play’s final wisdom: ‘The rarer action is / In virtue than in vengeance.’ The Tempest is a d ...

David Walker: Not Dark Yet

John Rickard
Thursday, 24 March 2011

An historian’s journey into the past

John Rickard

 

Not Dark Yet: A Personal History
by David Walker
Giramondo, $32.95 pb, 336 pp, 9781920882655

 

It is perhaps not surprising that historians, as they edge towards retirement, should consider the poss ...

Different readings at the Melbourne International Arts Festival

by John Rickard

 

In October, Brett Sheehy’s Melbourne International Arts Festival presented, with a certain relish, I suspect, two productions that represent opposite ends of a dramatic spectrum of current concern to those working in theatre. Heiner Goebbels’s S ...