Biography and Memoirs

Peter Rose on Remembering Gore Vidal

Peter Rose
06 August 2012

It was David Marr who commented that the key character in Gore Vidal’s first memoir, Palimpsest (1995), was not Jimmie Trimble, the boy whom Vidal loved when they were at school and who died, aged eighteen, at the battle for Iwo Jima; nor Vidal’s blind and adored maternal grandfather, Senator Thomas Pryor Gore, whom young Gore would lead onto the floor ... More

Nick Hordern reviews 'Class Act: A Life of Creighton Burns' by John Tidey

Nicholas Hordern
24 April 2012

Newspapers, they say, are in the throes of ‘far-reaching structural change’, a euphemism for ‘extinction’ that arouses complacency in the breasts of the e-literate; fury in those of the technophobes. But one only has to take a slightly longer view to realise that the golden age of newspapers, over which Creighton Burns presided as editor of TheA ... More

James Ley reviews 'The Lives of the Novelists' by John Sutherland

James Ley
21 March 2012

Here are some of the interesting things you may learn if you read John Sutherland’s Lives of the Novelists:

that James Fenimore Cooper was expelled from Yale for training a donkey to sit in the professor’s chair

that Evelyn Waugh once attempted suicide but was prevented from drowning by a passing shoal o ... More

Tony Taylor: Fishing the River of Time

Carol Middleton
21 March 2012

Modest and Remarkable

Carol Middleton

 

Fishing the River of Time
by Tony Taylor
Text Publishing, $29.95 hb, 224 pp, 9781921922015

 

This is the modest memoir of a remarkable man. At the age of eighty, geologist Tony Taylor travels from Sydney to Vanco ... More

'Pushing against the dark: Writing about the hidden self' by Robert Dessaix (2011 Seymour Biography Lecture)

Robert Dessaix
20 March 2012

If you’re a theatregoer, then somewhere along the line you’re bound to have seen The Government Inspector, Nikolai Gogol’s comedy about a rapacious nobody being mistaken for a government official by the citizens of a nameless provincial backwater. (They too are nobodies, greedy to be somebodies.) You might remember (since it’s a line that will ... More

Joel Deane: David McKnight's depiction of Rupert Murdoch

Joel Deane
27 February 2012

 It is a thought-provoking photograph. In 1988, during the bicentenary of The Times, Rupert Murdoch and Queen Elizabeth are pictured sitting at a news conference within the inner sanctum of the London broadsheet. Mogul and monarch are at arm’s length – she, straight-backed, legs crossed, hands gathered together above her lap; he, leaning forward an ... More

Neal Blewett on 'After Words: The Post-Prime Ministerial Speeches' by P.J. Keating

Neal Blewett
23 January 2012

As of writing, Australia has six living ex-prime ministers – not quite a record. Of these, one, of course, is still in parliamentary harness, and may still aspire to the top job. Of the More

Matt Granfield: HipsterMattic

Alex O'Brien
20 January 2012

Infinitely cooler

Alex O’Brien

 

HipsterMattic
by Matt Granfield
Allen & Unwin, $24.99 pb, 320 pp, 9781742377858

 

In the past, a twenty-something could exemplify le dernier cri without having to dispense with his bicycle gears, reflecto ... More

Nigel Starck: Proud Australian Boy

John Ellison Davies
20 January 2012

From Changi to the Tower of London

John Ellison Davies

 

Proud Australian Boy: A Biography of Russell Braddon
by Nigel Starck
Australian Scholarly Publishing, $34.95 pb, 284 pp, 9781921875403

 

Russell Braddon was part of the first wave of postwar Aust ... More

Felicity Plunkett reviews 'The Romantic' by Kate Holden

Felicity Plunkett
15 November 2011

For a book featuring a lot of sex, The Romantic – whose title could be ironic, acerbic, or hopeful – disgust is not the most obvious predominant motif readers might expect...< More

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