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Literary Studies

Paul Morgan reviews 'Shirley Hazzard'

Paul Morgan
Sunday, 26 May 2013

The cover of Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire shows a vast and terrible conflagration. Flames reach high into the sky, devouring the air and seeming to set the wide river alight. In the distance, an eerily familiar pair of ghostly towers rises above the smoke. In the foreground, tiny human figures move around as a boat sets off towards the fire, perhaps in ...

Alison Broinowski reviews 'Desert Passions'

Alison Broinowski
Sunday, 28 April 2013

I once fell out with an intelligent, well-read woman who refused to believe me when I said I had never read a Mills & Boon book. I should perhaps have admitted that the job I had as a student, proofreading stacks of popular novels for an Adelaide publisher, put me off them for life. Now I am grateful to Hsu-Ming Teo for educating me so thoroughly on romantic fic ...

An unsuspecting reader might guess that this book belongs to the disreputable genre of psychobiography. Beginning with Sigmund Freud’s analysis of Leonardo da Vinci (1910), which explored themes of unconscious homosexuality and maternal attachment, biographers have attempted to make sense of individual lives with the aid of psychological theory, most often of a ps ...

As a reader, teacher, and scholar of Australian literature, I applaud any initiative directed towards increasing readers’ understanding of, and engagement with, Australian writing. Geordie Williamson’s The Burning Library sets out to achieve that goal. Through a mix of biography and literary review, Williamson seeks to recuperate the work and reputation o ...

Shannon Burns reviews 'Promiscuous' by Bernard Avishai

Shannon Burns
Monday, 26 November 2012

I nitially banned in Australia, Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) is Philip Roth’s early, bestselling, satirical tour de force. Alexander Portnoy addresses a long monologue to his analyst, Dr Spielvogel. Among other things, the monologue tackles Portnoy’s erotic and ethical shortcomings, lingering in particular over his father’s familial and economic emascul ...

‘Victorian Bloomsbury’ appears to be a contradiction in terms. ‘Bloomsbury’, as in ‘the Bloomsbury Group’, is shorthand for the group of writers, artists, and thinkers including Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Clive and Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Maynard Keynes, who gathered in the area of central London between Euston Road and Holborn in the early deca ...

Miles Franklin loosens up

Patrick Allington
Monday, 28 May 2012

Soon after the announcement of the shortlist of this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award (‘the Miles’), bookmaker Tom Waterhouse installed Anna Funder’s All That I Am (2011) as favourite. Fair enough, too: it’s an astute and absorbing Australian novel about, among other things, Nazism’s long shadow. But Waterhouse favoured Funder – oddly – ...

The autobiography, that seemingly inevitable act of self-revelation, is frequently a work tricked out with very little art. For the novelist, unlike the anecdote-disposing musician or painter, the problem is doubled: they are making a home with the same tools. Rare is the autobiography that, like Nabokov’s Speak, Memory (1951) or Martin Amis’s Experience (2001), speaks in ...

Alex Miller and a craving for mythos

Jane Goodall
Thursday, 24 May 2012

Jane Goodall

 

The Novels of Alex Miller: An Introduction
edited by Robert Dixon
Allen & Unwin, $39.99 pb, 268 pp, 9781742378640

 

As creative writing programs continue to surge in popularity, it has become something of an uphill battle to recruit students fo ...

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 ...