Literary Studies

Susan Lever reviews 'Contemporary Australian Literature' by Nicholas Birns

Susan Lever
24 February 2016

From time to time, Australian literature has been fortunate enough to attract the enthusiasm of international critics, from C. Hartley Grattan in the 1920s to Paul Giles, who compared Australian and American literature in his scholarly Antipodean America (2013). Nicholas Birns, a New York academic, tells us that he first encountered Australian writing back ... More

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Mick' by Suzanne Falkiner

Kerryn Goldsworthy
24 February 2016

Late in 1998, the Times Literary Supplement, as was its wont, sent Randolph 'Mick' Stow a book for review. It was Xavier Herbert: A Biography (1998) by Francis de Groen, and Stow accepted the commission with enthusiasm. 'What a ghastly, embarrassing old pillock,' he wrote to his lifelong friend Bill Grono. 'Well, you'll soon read my opinion of him. ... More

J.M. Coetzee reviews 'The Modernist Papers' by Frederic Jameson

J.M. Coetzee
18 February 2016

Though by profession a scholar of literature with a specialism in French literature, Fredric Jameson (born 1934) has made his mark as a cultural historian and even as what used to be called an historian of ideas. His chef d'oeuvre, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), provides one of the more persuasive cognitive maps we have of ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Simple Act of Reading' edited by Debra Adelaide

Gillian Dooley
21 December 2015

Let's start with the title. The act of reading is anything but simple, as Fiona McFarlane and Gabrielle Carey both point out. Eyes, brain, and mind cooperate to create from a series of symbols with no intrinsic representative value a coherent message, or some amusing nonsense, or a persuasive argument, or a boring anecdote, or a parade of transparent lies.

D ... More

Paul Giles reviews 'The Work of Literature' by Derek Attridge

Paul Giles
21 December 2015

Derek Attridge is one of the most formidable theorists working today in the field of literary studies. His central strategy is to identify potential for recognition in the reading process of singularity and alterity, with the qualities of a particular work manifesting themselves most powerfully when they reveal 'unexpected possibilities of thought and feeling'.

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Michael Hofmann reviews 'Ted Hughes' by Jonathan Bate

Michael Hofmann
17 December 2015

I can readily see that I am not the intended reader for The Unauthorised Life of Ted Hughes. Born in the year his first book of poems came out (The Hawk in the Rain, 1957); made to read Hughes at school (I preferred Sylvia Plath); a graduate of the same university (Cambridge); my books published by the same publisher (Faber), and sharing (if at all ... More

Colin Nettelbeck reviews 'The Cambridge Introduction to French Literature' by Brian Nelson

Colin Nettelbeck
30 November 2015

'It is hard to imagine a more challenging scholarly task than composing, in under three hundred pages, an introduction to a field as vast and variegated as French literature. From the fabliaux, mystery plays and chansons de geste of medieval times to such figures as the present-day Nobel Prize-winning novelists Le Clézio and Modiano, it embraces n ... More

Sarah Dempster reviews 'The English Country House in Literature' edited by Geoffrey G. Hiller

Sarah Dempster
30 November 2015

Outwardly safe, aristocratic, and uncontroversial, the English country house seems suitably benign coffee-table material to leaf through on a drowsy Sunday afternoon. However, while the story of the English country house is certainly steeped in nostalgia and privilege, it is also a narrative of exclusion, exploitation, and decline. Geoffrey G. Hiller engages with ea ... More

John Arnold reviews 'Blockbuster' by Lucy Sussex

John Arnold
26 August 2015

In Blockbuster! Lucy Sussex deftly relates the story of Fergus Hume and his great Melbourne detective novel, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab. First published in 1886, it has never been out of print and has been translated into many languages and a ... More

Lara Anderson reviews 'Roberto Bolaño's Fiction' by Chris Andrews

Lara Anderson
26 August 2015

Roberto Bolaño (1953–2003) is the most widely celebrated proponent of a post-boom form of literature from the Southern Cone region of Latin America (Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay), which is characterised by cohesive yet complex narrative worlds. Hailing from a country that endured repressive and vi ... More

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