Non Fiction

R.S. White reviews 'The King and I'' by Philippa Kelly

R.S. White
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Literary critics used to adopt a persona claiming disinterested separation from the text being analysed. Critical theory, in particular post-colonial and gender studies, eroded this stance, showing that criticism is always self-interested, concealing or inadvertently revealing tacit assumptions stemming from the critic’s biography, class, gender, and political per ...

Peter Stothard reviews 'Rome' by Robert Hughes

Peter Stothard
Monday, 22 August 2011

There are two sorts of carelessness that a reviewer of history books will regularly see. The first is a minor marring of virtue: a small blot on a show of swashbuckling confidence and command over grand themes, a lack of care for what lesser men may think, arrogance even ...

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In a 1995 interview for the Paris Review, Ted Hughes was asked if the 1960s boom in translated poetry, particularly with series such as the Penguin Modern European Poets, had influenced poetry written in England. ‘Has it modified the British tradition!’ he replied. ‘Everything is now completely open, every approach, with infinite possibilities. Obviou ...

Italo Calvino once wrote that ‘cities are like dreams: their rules seem absurd, their perspectives are often deceitful, and everything in them conceals something else’, hence ‘we should take delight not in a city’s wonders, whether these number seven or seventy, but in the answers a city can ...

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Of the fate of Australian prisoners of war in the hands of the Japanese during World War II, the literature – memoir, fiction, history – is voluminous. There were 21,652 of them, of whom thirty-five per cent, or 7780, perished. A good deal has also been written of enemy prisoners – Japanese, German, Italian – who were held in camps in this country, and in pa ...

Bill Clinton discouraged politicians from picking fights with people who bought their ink by the barrel. Mindful of that advice, Lindsay Tanner has waited until the end of a career dedicated to the ‘serious craft of politics’ to remonstrate with the fourth estate about its fundamental unseriousness in reporting the democratic process ...

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This fascinating, complex book relies for its success on the simplest of ideas and methodologies. Its publication was the necessary and inevitable follow-on from the hugely successful BBC Radio 4 series, when, over twenty weeks, British Museum (BM) director Neil MacGregor presented short, daily radio commentaries ...

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As people around the world watch events in the United States, many will agree that it is indeed an exceptional, if conflicted, nation. The sole superpower, with the world’s largest economy and the most powerful military ever known, is hugely in debt, and struggles agonisingly just to produce a federal budget ...

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The title of this new book on the Vietnam War comes from the final verse cycle of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (1869). As Arthur lies dying, he reflects ‘that we / Shall never more ... Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds’. This Arthurian borrowing for the title of a book about an obscure battle fought by Australians in Vietnam during the 19 ...

Nicholas Thomas’s principal purposes in this study are to show, first, that the peoples of the Pacific were neither incurious about the world beyond their islands, nor lacking in the emotional or imaginative means to apprehend cultures different from their own. Even before the coming of European maritime discoverers ...

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