Biography and Memoirs

Lee Christofis reviews the new art biography 'Fantasy Modern'

Lee Christofis
19 January 2014

Reading Andrew Montana’s new biography of Loudon Sainthill leaves one imagining how much the artist would have achieved without his lover, amanuensis, and entrepreneur, Harry Tatlock Miller. Lovers for some thirty-four years, they seem destined to achieve remarkable things together. Well into his project Montana realised that he could not tell Sainthill’s ... More

Ben Stubbs reviews the new memoir 'Salt Story'

Ben Stubbs
19 January 2014

Sarah Drummond’s début is a poetic memoir of life among the fishermen and women on the southern extremities of Western Australia.

The story of ‘Salt’, her mentor and fishing companion, is structured as a series of vignettes around life on the water in the bays, inlets, and fishing channels in this rugged part of Australia, which is ... More

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews the new biography of Alma Moodie

Sheila Fitzpatrick
17 January 2014

Alma Moodie’s story is remarkable, which makes it all the stranger that she has been so thoroughly forgotten. A frail child prodigy from central Queensland, she became Carl Flesch’s favourite pupil and a renowned concert violinist in Germany after World War I, friend and performer of most of the great figures of international contemporary music, from Max R ... More

Robert Gibson reviews a new study of Wagner

Robert Gibson
17 January 2014

After four days in the theatre, and just as many resting up between instalments, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen ends with a big tune. Like most of Wagner’s themes, this one has been given a name: the ‘Redemption through Love’ motif. The name was not the work of the composer but of one of his acolytes, Hans von Wolzogen, and in its orig ... More

Philip Goad on Harry Seidler's 'Singular Vision'

Philip Goad
17 January 2014

Among the diaspora of European-born Jewish artists, architects, academics, and intellectuals who made a life on Australian shores pre- and post-World War II, Harry Seidler (1923–2006) was, arguably, the most successful and at various times during his life, one of the most visible and most controversial. As an architect, he left behind signature office buildi ... More

Brian Matthews on the 'Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18'

Brian Matthews
17 January 2014

In his brief preface to Volume 1 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography 17881850 A–H (1966), Douglas Pike describes the ‘all-Australian, Commonwealth-wide … consultation and co-operation’ underpinning the volume and notes that the breadth and complexity of its intellectual network meant the Dictionary could ‘truly be ... More

Dina Ross reviews 'This is the Story of a Happy Marriage'

Dina Ross
17 January 2014

In 2006, novelist Ann Patchett found herself in the midst of intense controversy. Truth and Beauty, an account of her friendship with the late writer Lucy Grealy, had been allocated as a text for freshmen at Clemson University, South Carolina. One parent objected because the book depicted an intense affection between two women, discussed premarital sex, ... More

White Beech

John Thompson
16 January 2014

John Thompson examines Germaine Greer’s sober, meditative, deeply moving account of her efforts to regenerate sixty hectares of degraded rainforest in the Gold Coast hinterland.

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Michael Crennan reviews the biography of Henry Friendly

Michael Crennan
28 November 2013

Henry Friendly was a judge of the highest reputation – greater than Learned Hand in Justice Scalia’s opinion. His output was prodigious, his legacy unmatched: of his fifty-one clerks, twenty-one (including the present incumbent) became justices of the Supreme Court of the United States; in that Court’s decisions, only Learned Hand was cited more often th ... More

Graeme Powell reviews 'An Unqualified Success'

Graeme Powell
28 November 2013

In 1939 President Roosevelt nominated the poet Archibald MacLeish to be the Librarian of Congress, replacing Herbert Putnam, who had held the post since 1899. MacLeish had not previously been employed in a library. American librarians reacted to the news with outrage and disbelief, with one of their leaders claiming that he could no more think of a poet as the ... More

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