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Literary Studies

Ros Pesman reviews 'From a Distant Shore'

Ros Pesman
27 May 2013

From the earliest days of white settlement, Australians have made the voyage to Britain. Many stayed for long periods and some forever. Prominent among the more permanent residents were writers, prominent not only in terms of numbers but also because it was they who in large part created the stories and legends of Australians abroad. Some left without regret, lambas ... More

Paul Morgan reviews 'Shirley Hazzard'

Paul Morgan
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 ... More

Alison Broinowski reviews 'Desert Passions'

Alison Broinowski
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 ... More

Nick Haslam reviews 'Virginia Woolf and Neuropsychiatry'

Nick Haslam
26 March 2013

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 ... More

'The Burning Library: Great Novelists Lost and Found'

Bernadette Brennan
02 February 2013

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 ... More

Shannon Burns reviews 'Promiscuous'

Shannon Burns
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 ... More

Margaret Harris reviews 'Victorian Bloomsbury'

24 October 2012

‘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 ... More

Miles Franklin loosens up

Patrick Allington
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 – ... More

Gerald Murnane's new novel cum memoir

Adam Rivett
28 May 2012

Adam Rivett

 

A History of Books
by Gerald Murnane
Giramondo, $26.95 pb, 206 pp, 9781920882853

 

The autobiography, that seemingly inevitable act of self-revelation, is frequently a work tricked out with very littl ... More

Alex Miller and a craving for mythos

Jane Goodall
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 ... More

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