Shannon Burns

Shannon Burns reviews 'Hawthorne’s Habitations: A Literary Life'

Shannon Burns
27 May 2013

Unlike Hawthorne: A Life (2003), Brenda Wineapple’s penetrating and engaging biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hawthorne’s Habitations, is a work of literary criticism informed by a narrow but fascinating range of biographical details and sources. These details support Robert Milder’s construction of an author ‘divided’ by ... More

Shannon Burns reviews a new title on the life of David Foster Wallace

Shannon Burns
30 January 2013

According to D.T. Max, ‘At the time of his tragic death by suicide in September 2008, David Foster Wallace was the foremost writer of his generation, the one who had forged the newest path and from whom the others, directly or indirectly, took their cues.’ Indeed, for someone desperate to escape the confines of self and wary of literary celebrity, Wallace endure ... More

Shannon Burns reviews 'Promiscuous' by Bernard Avishai

Shannon Burns
26 November 2012

I nitially banned in Australia, Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) is Philip Roth’s early, bestselling, satirical tour de force. Alexander Portnoy addresses a long monologue to his analyst, Dr Spielvogel. Among other things, the monologue tackles Portnoy’s erotic and ethical shortcomings, lingering in particular over his father’s familial and economic emascul ... More

Shannon Burns reviews 'Dark Night: Walking With McCahon' by Martin Edmond

Shannon Burns
25 October 2012

Colin McCahon was a prominent late-modernist New Zealand painter who temporarily disappeared while visiting the Sydney Botanic Gardens on 11 and 12 April 1984. As Martin Edmond relates, ‘Colin went off to the toilet but didn’t return’, and subsequently ‘spent 28 hours lost on the streets of Sydney’. When discovered, ‘he could not say who he was, carried ... More

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