Since the mid 1990s, when Robert Putnam lionised the concept in his famous essay ‘Bowling Alone’, writing on ‘social capital’ has proliferated. It caught the eye of politicians, including then United States President Bill Clinton, and for a while it seemed that everyone was lamenting its decline ...... (read more)
In September 1857, after twenty-one years of marriage, Charles Dickens began the eight-month long process of separating himself from his wife, Catherine. At forty-two years of age, Catherine had given birth to ten children and managed Dickens’s large household. Until the mid 1850s she and Dickens seemed to enjoy a happy partnership, yet by 1858 Catherine was exile ...
‘A peculiar bloke, Jack; you never knew him. You couldn’t get close to him.’ Reg Pollard, who was one of the abler members of the Labor Caucus in the 1940s, confessed his puzzlement to Lloyd Ross as Curtin’s biographer gathered personal testimony ...... (read more)
Charles Lock reviews 'Patrick White within the Western Literary Tradition' by John Beston and 'Remembering Patrick White' edited by Elizabeth McMahon and Brigitta Olubas
That Patrick White is thought of as an Australian writer is, though regrettable, undeniable. Two problems follow: the first being that he tends to be presented by his critical custodians in an almost comically restricted way, as though White’s works needed to be measured and justified only by Australian standards and terms of comparison ...... (read more)
Bruce Moore reviews 'Colonial Voices: A Cultural History of English in Australia 1840–1940' by Joy Damousi
This is a book about the role of English speech in the creation and spread of British colonialism in Australia, about the eventual disintegration of this imperial speech and its values in the colony now transformed into a nation, and about the emergence of the ‘colonial voices’ of the title ...... (read more)
Get in line, Bruce. The world is full of those who have been done over by Rupert Murdoch. In the immortal words of George Cukor to an aggrieved actor: ‘Will you stop about being fired. Everybody’s been fired.’ So what makes Bruce Guthrie, sacked as Editor-in-Chief of the Herald Sun ...... (read more)
Immediately after the mid-term elections in November, Barack Obama left for a long-planned G20 gathering in Seoul and for meetings with heads of government in the nation states of India, Indonesia, and Japan. Nothing remarkable, you think? Exactly what one expects a United States president to do? Not in America.
The right-wing blogosphere went berserk. Miche ...
John Howard and Tony Blair both came to the prime ministership in landslides, Howard in 1996, Blair in 1997. They were on opposite sides of the traditional political divide, Howard leading a Liberal Party opposed to Australian Labor and Blair leading the British Labour Party ...... (read more)