Palgrave Macmillan

Thirty-two years since his death, Colin Clark (1905–89) remains an obscure name in Australia and the discipline of economics. This relative anonymity may strike those who know of his academic achievements as odd, even unjust, as Clark was an outspoken and occasionally brilliant intellectual. A protégé (and later apostate) of John Maynard Keynes, a British Labour party candidate for South Norfolk, a Queensland state statistician, and a scholar at Cambridge, Monash, Oxford, and Queensland, the British-born Clark was a pioneer of national accounting and made numerous contributions to various fields of economics. These were tempered, however, by his ideological conservatism, peripatetic employment, and uneven record of economic forecasting.

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In its interrogation and negotiation of contemporary theoretical frameworks and practices at the core of the Italian–Australian migration complex, Francesco Ricatti’s comprehensive study offers a fresh and lucid understanding of the interrelation of core issues and processes affecting ...

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In an address to the National Prayer Breakfast (8 February 2018), President Donald Trump called the United States a ‘nation of believers’. As evidence, he reminded his audience that the American currency includes the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ and that the Pledge of Allegiance is ‘under God’ ...

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The legendary Dylan has now been dead for a century and his fumy glitter has probably faded a little. But then, how far do any poets these days really have glamour to show for themselves, no matter how hard they drink? Very few, in the Anglophone world at least: there’s nobody around like Wales’s roaring boy.

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A History of Australia by Mark Peel and Christina Twomey

by
April 2012, no. 340

The product under consideration is Shist.’ So began New Zealand historian Keith Sinclair’s discussion of short histories in 1968. His irreverent diminutive is still occasionally heard among professional historians of a certain age. It is less often recalled that Sinclair was defending the worth of the short history against those who might think ‘Shist beneath their dignity’. After all, Sinclair was himself the author of a fine short history of New Zealand, and he was contributing to a collection of essays in honour of W.K. Hancock, who had arguably produced the most distinguished – and certainly the most influential – short history of Australia up to that time.

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Graeme Harper is a big name in the academic field of creative writing. He was the first in Australia to be awarded a doctorate in creative writing (UTS, 1993) and followed that with a PhD from the University of East Anglia; he has held professorships in creative writing in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. He edits journals and writes textbooks on creative writing; his curriculum vitae lists more than seventy-five keynote addresses given on the subject, and thirty-one grants and fellowships. As Brooke Biaz, he also writes fiction. How does he find the time? Any academic will confirm that nothing so effectively limits one’s own creative writing output as does teaching the subject.

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In Elements of Criticism (1762), the Scottish philosopher Lord Kames writes of the remarkable congruence between real presence, the product of our ‘external senses’, and ideal presence, which appears when art presents something so vividly to our ‘internal’ senses that we forget that it is not actually before us. Ideal presence, he writes, is like a‘waking dream’, the appearances of which are indistinguishable from real presence while we are within its spaces. For readers who associate immersive realities with modern digital media, Kames’s argument is surprising, even though it could be argued that in the twenty-first century literature is still the most powerful medium available for producing immersive realities. Kames assumes that literature’s ‘waking dreams’ will be judged by the standards of the actual world; but as early as the last decades of the eighteenth century and first decades of the next, the development of genres such as Gothic fictions, coupled with the emergence of new entertainment media such as the panorama and phantasmagoria, had drawn attention to the extent to which ideal realities – ‘fictitious entities’ and ‘imaginary nonentities’, in Jeremy Bentham’s terminology – could shape rather than simply represent the real. This is the cultural context in which Keats’s life (1795–1821), dilemmas and oeuvre make sense.

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Ernest Gowers is remembered, if at all, for the writings on the English language which he undertook towards the end of his life. In 1948, at the request of the British Treasury, he wrote a small book called Plain Words. It was intended for the use of civil servants, not all of whom appreciated it, but it attracted a far wider audience, sold in huge numbers, and has never been out of print. An expanded version, entitled The Complete Plain Words, appeared in 1954. Subsequently, the Clarendon Press asked Gowers to produce a revised edition of H.W. Fowler’s Modern English Usage (1926). He laboured on the task for nine years, completing it at the age of eighty-five.

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In 1958 Oxford philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, whose demolition of C.S. Lewis in a Union debate a few years earlier was said to have driven that colleague to fiction, turned her sights on a bigger target: modern moral philosophy. The then-dominant notions of obligation and duty ‘ought to be jettisoned’, she declared, as they make no sense in the absence of a lawgiver, or at least of some external source of value, and these days their presence is no longer assumed. But ‘If there is no God,’ said Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor, ‘then anything is permitted.’ If reason, religion and utility can’t field our moral questions, what tells us to not lie and steal?

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