Non Fiction

Shannon Burns reviews a new biography of Derrida

Shannon Burns
Thursday, 31 October 2013

By what right, and in accordance with what set of social conditions or teleological commitments, ideologies, cultural and biographical conventions, and in whose name might one begin to speak of, formulate, detail, or analyse the life of Jackie aka ‘Jacques’ Derrida?

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Peter Kenneally reviews 'Bowra'

Peter Kenneally
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Australia is one of the most urbanised and docile societies on earth, but its cities are hemmed in by a vast, poetry-laden hinterland. There is Kinsella in the west, Adamson on the Hawkesbury, and, in this book, the western Queensland of B.R. Dionysius. No one ever seems to be matter of fact about the landscape in Australia. It is politically charged, or Gothi ...

Benjamin Millar reviews 'Marshall-Hall's Melbourne'

Benjamin Millar
Thursday, 31 October 2013

That George William Lewis Marshall-Hall (1862–1915) is far from a household name cannot simply reflect collective amnesia about Australian music of the era. While Nellie Melba and Percy Grainger remain widely celebrated, subversion of moral and religious orthodoxies left Marshall-Hall’s legacy significantly undervalued. These sixteen carefully sequenced es ...

John Rickard reviews 'My Old Man'

John Rickard
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Many years ago, when I was struggling to make a living as an actor–singer in England, I spent six months in the chorus at the London Palladium, in a show breezily titled Let Yourself Go, whose star was former Goon Harry Secombe. It was hard work: two performances nightly, plus a matinee on Saturday. Years later, I realised that this demanding regimen ...

Dina Ross reviews 'My Mother, My Father'

Dina Ross
Thursday, 31 October 2013

In A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), novelist Dave Eggers recounts the horror of losing both his parents within one year, leaving him and his sister as sole carers of their young brother. Eggers recalls the intense pain of being orphaned at the age of twenty-one, but also the frustration and acute resentment at having to grow up too fast.

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Jo Scanlan reviews 'Kitty's War'

Jo Scanlan
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Janet Butler sets up the story of Australian World War I army nurse Catherine (Kit) McNaughton with a strong and vivid opening chapter. At a hospital base in the north of France, Kit sits in her freezing hut scribbling in her diary, her mind far away with her audience back home. She is about to go on duty. A short time later when she lifts the canvas flap of t ...

Colin Nettelbeck reviews the 'Australian Journal of French Studies'

Colin Nettelbeck
Thursday, 31 October 2013

This number of the Australian Journal of French Studies has been superbly guest-edited by Sydney University’s Margaret Sankey, a world authority on French voyages of discovery in the southern hemisphere. In addition to her own work, there are contributions by several French and New Zealand colleagues.

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Virginia Lloyd reviews 'Profits of Doom'

Virginia Lloyd
Thursday, 31 October 2013

One of the literary legacies of the financial crisis is a type of travel writing focused on the local social, economic, and environmental effects of unfettered global capitalism. There are two types of such books. Michael Lewis is perhaps the best known and most widely read author of the first kind, in which the reporter becomes a kind of tour guide to the financial ...

Frank Bongiorno reviews 'Dancing with Empty Pockets'

Frank Bongiorno
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Tony Moore’s engaging account of Australian bohemians begins with Marcus Clarke and takes us through to Julian Assange. Along the way we encounter Australian bohemia in its diverse expressions, from the art of the Heidelberg School, writing of the Bulletin, high jinks of 1920s Sydney bohemia to the Sydney Push, Melbourne Drift, 1960s counterculture (i ...

Richard Broinowski reviews 'Charles Robert Scrivener'

Richard Broinowski
Thursday, 31 October 2013

In the 1890s the six Australian colonies were preoccupied not only with getting a fair deal over tariffs and customs – and maintaining the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race – but also with the location of the national capital. Denizens of Melbourne and Sydney felt that it should be one of them. The compromise was a capital in New South Wales, closer to Sydney ...