Literary Studies

William Heyward visits 'The Garden of Eros'

William Heyward
28 February 2014

Great publishers seem to be scarcer than great writers, possibly because people grow up dreaming of being the next Hunter S. Thompson or Simone de Beauvoir rather than Sonny Mehta or Beatriz de Moura. Writers probably need publishers, but publishers definitely need writers. Such a fact has never seemed more tangible to me than as I read The Garden of Eros, Jo ... More

Andy Lloyd James reviews 'Unsuitable for Publication'

Andy Lloyd James
28 February 2014

When Queen Victoria died she had ruled the British Empire for sixty-three years. In the same year as her ascent to the throne, the capital of the colony of Victoria was christened Melbourne, after her first prime minister. She died in 1901, soon after Federation. After her death, her real character remained largely unknown for decades (Lytton Strachey’s seminal bi ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'In So Many Words'

Gillian Dooley
19 January 2014

I have often thought that a large part of achievement is just fronting up; having an idea and acting on it, however unlikely success might seem. What you need is a resolution (or the disposition) not to be discouraged by failure and to be pleasantly surprised by success. If it doesn’t work, you try something else. You make the most of any opportunity. You sh ... More

Alexander Howard reviews 'English as a Vocation'

Alexander Howard
28 November 2013

Christopher Hilliard’s meticulously researched and richly detailed English as a Vocation: The Scrutiny Movement opens with a historical anecdote regarding an after-hours, postwar negotiation ‘between literary analysis and popular culture’ undertaken in that most evocative of English holiday destinations: Scarborough. In these opening lines, ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Shakespeare Beyond Doubt'

Ian Donaldson
28 November 2013

It was not until the middle years of the nineteenth century, so far as we can tell, that anyone seriously doubted that the man from Stratford-upon-Avon called William Shakespeare had written the plays that for the past two and a half centuries had passed without question under his name. In the early 1850s, however, a private scholar from Connecticut named Deli ... More

Susan Lever reviews 'Telling Stories'

Susan Lever
31 October 2013

Telling Stories is a great brick of a book full of diverting bits and pieces about Australian culture over the past seventy-seven years. It is hugely entertaining – a sort of QIin book form, with seventy-nine authors offering their brief observations on aspects of Australian cultural life. No one will read it cover to ... More

Steven Carroll on T.S Eliot in 'Tarantula's Web'

Steven Carroll
30 October 2013

Private Eye said of Stephen Spender that he wasn’t so much famous as that he knew a lot of famous people. They might have said the same of John Hayward. His editorial and scholarly work notwithstanding, it’s doubtful that a biography of him would have been written had it not been for his close friendship with the premier poet of ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Shakespeare’s Restless World'

Ian Donaldson
27 August 2013

The humanities are currently experiencing what’s been called a ‘material turn’ that is in some ways comparable to the linguistic turn that animated the academy half a century ago. Then it was language that commanded attention, and appeared to constitute a primary ‘reality’; now the focus is on physical objects, and what they can tell us about the wor ... More

'The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Since 1945'

Alexander Howard
27 June 2013

The scene: a cold, bright January day in the snow-covered capital of the United States. The occasion: the presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy. Up to the podium steps America’s unofficial poet laureate, eighty-six-year-old Robert Frost. Temporarily blinded by the glare of brilliant sunshine and freshly fallen snow, Frost sets aside the handwritten te ... More

Christopher Allen on 'Confronting the Classics'

Christopher Allen
27 May 2013

When Confucius was asked by his disciples how they should become wise, he would enjoin them to study the classics; over two millennia later and much closer to home, Winckelmann declared that it was only by imitating the supreme masterpieces of the Greeks that we too might one day become inimitable – putting his finger on the paradox that the greatest originality a ... More

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