Biography and Memoirs
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 ...
Modest and Remarkable
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 ...
'Pushing against the dark: Writing about the hidden self' by Robert Dessaix (2011 Seymour Biography Lecture)
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 ...
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 ...
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 remaining five, all but one have provided us with voluminous accounts of their stewardship ...... (read more)
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 ...
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 ...
‘I kept thinking: if his face looks like this, what must his balls look like?’ David Hockney’s assessment of the craggy countenance of W.H. Auden is clipped and convenient, but I suspect Auden would have been far more interesting on the subject of sitting for Hockney. Given the concentration and quality of the encounters between English portrait painters or sculptors and their subjects, it is slightly odd that more writers have not published accounts of the experience of sitting for their portrait.... (read more)
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...... (read more)
The business of growing up starts with distancing ourselves from our parents. It ends (as far as it ever ends) with drawing them close again. Rather than disappointing giants, we recognise them at last as fallible, unique human beings. We recognise them in ourselves, and so they become real to us.
The tumultuous early life of Raimond Gaita and his parents is ...