Biography

Margaret Harris reviews 'Victoria: The woman who made the modern world' by Julia Baird

Margaret Harris
22 February 2017

The Empire over which Queen Victoria ruled for more than sixty years no longer paints the globe red. Yet Victoria is still ubiquitous. She is memorialised in the Commonwealth of Australia – formally proclaimed just three weeks before she died on 22 January 1901 – in the names of two states and innumerable other places, along with material objects like statues an ... More

James Dunk reviews 'Dr James Barry: A woman ahead of her time' by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield

James Dunk
20 December 2016

‘The devil! It’s a woman!’ exclaimed a charwoman as she laid out the naked body of James Barry, MD, for burial. Seventy-six years earlier, Barry had been born ...

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John Arnold reviews 'Up Came a Squatter: Niel Black of Glenormiston, 1839–1880' by Maggie Black

John Arnold
19 December 2016

At the launch of Up Came a Squatter, Geoffrey Blainey reflected on how important the wool industry was to Australia for more than a hundred years ...

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Evelyn Juers reviews 'Cursed Legacy: The Tragic Life of Klaus Mann' by Frederic Spotts

Evelyn Juers
19 December 2016

In ‘The Art of Biography’, Virginia Woolf insists that this ‘is the most restricted of all the arts’ and that even if many biographies are written, few survive. But somehow ...

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Jill Burton reviews 'Cynthia Nolan: A biography' by M.E. McGuire

Jill Burton
19 December 2016

When times were difficult, Cynthia Reed Nolan ‘drew the veil’. Born in Evandale in 1908, the youngest of six children, Cynthia always sought distance ...

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Ann-Marie Priest reviews 'Katherine Mansfield: The early years' by Gerri Kimber

Ann-Marie Priest
19 December 2016

Katherine Mansfield is one of those shimmering literary figures whose life looms larger than her work. This is not because her writing lacks value: Mansfield’s spiky ...

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Shannon Burns reviews 'The Life of D.H. Lawrence' by Andrew Harrison

Shannon Burns
30 November 2016

Readers who expect to be treated with gentlemanly courtesy have always found D. H. Lawrence rough going. His explicit fictional representations of sex and his anti-war diatribes were widely condemned in his lifetime, and his novels were duly censored or withdrawn from sale in Britain and beyond. Lawrence’s prose style – lyrical and sensuous one moment, brusque a ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'The Unknown Judith Wright' by Georgina Arnott

Ian Donaldson
24 October 2016

Literary biographers and their intended subjects at times agree and at times disagree about the stories they think should be told. J.D. Salinger and Vladimir Nabokov – the one, fastidiou More

Janna Thompson reviews 'Hume: An intellectual biography' by James A. Harris

Janna Thompson
26 September 2016

David Hume earned his place in the philosophical pantheon mostly because of the uncompromising empiricism of his early work A Treatise of Human Nature (1738). He looked ...

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Kevin Foster reviews Phillip Schuler: The remarkable life of one of Australia’s greatest war correspondents' by Mark Baker

Kevin Foster
23 September 2016

Who was Phillip Schuler? A war correspondent for The Age, his six-week visit to Gallipoli in July and August 1915 produced, inter alia, a few of the rare eyewitness accounts of the battle ...

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