Essays and Commentary

My Brother Jack at fifty

Kevin Rabalais
21 July 2014

Fifty years after the publication of George Johnston’s My Brother Jack, Kevin Rabalais revisits this famous study of family, the Depression, and World War II.

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Amanda Laugesen on the ‘super-dictionary’

Amanda Laugesen
28 May 2014

In a 2011 lecture, David Crystal, a leading authority on the English language, spoke about the possibility of a ‘super-dictionary’ of English – a dictionary that would include every word in global English. Such a dictionary was, he acknowledged, a ‘crazy, stupid idea’, but an idea that seemed somehow possible in the electronic age, where the constraints of print no longer apply.

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Bill Gammage on notions of country

Bill Gammage
27 May 2014

In Australia, thinking ‘landscape’, ‘country’, and ‘place’ virtually interchangeable is the hallmark of a migrant society. This is obvious because of the skeleton at our feast, the contrast between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ways of seeing land. Both can agree that ‘there’s no place like home’, because ‘place’ here means ‘a place’, a par ... More

Sheila Fitzpatrick on history vs memoir

Sheila Fitzpatrick
27 May 2014

In Iris Murdoch’s novel, The Sandcastle (1957), a young artist called Rain Carter is commissioned to paint a retired schoolmaster, Demoyte, an eccentric with an offbeat sense of h More

James Der Derian reviews 'The Snowden Files' by Luke Harding and 'No Place to Hide' by Glenn Greenwald

James Der Derian
26 May 2014
1984 is back. George Orwell’s nightmare vision of governmental surveillance, secrecy, and deception clearly resonates with the revelations first leaked to the Guardian by former National Security Agen More

Amanda Laugesen on Slang and the Australian Soldier

Amanda Laugesen
27 March 2014

The relationship between the world of soldiers and the world of civilians has long been a topic of interest to historians and other scholars of war. Joan Beaumont’s significant new book Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War (reviewed in ABR, February 2014) emphasises the importance of considering the war front and home front side by side, and a ... More

2014 Calibre Prize (Winner): Unearthing the Past

Christine Piper
25 March 2014

Christine Piper is the winner of the 2014 Calibre Prize for an Outstanding Essay, worth $5,000. In this powerful essay, she writes about Japanese biological weapons and wartime experiments on living human beings.

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#Queryfail

Mary Cunnane
27 November 2013

Mary Cunnane, who has worked in the publishing industry since 1976, laments the laziness and irritation of those publishers who resent and underestimate unsolicited submissions from authors

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Patrick White: A theatre of his own

Andrew Fuhrmann
30 October 2013

Andrew Fuhrmann’s acclaimed Fellowship essay on the theatre of Patrick White closely examines these brilliant, problematic plays and draws on interview material with key directors closely associated with White.

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At dusk in the Gévaudan

Tom Griffiths
26 August 2013

Thirty years ago, I walked out of the railway station at Le Puy in the Auvergne region of the Massif Central of France, put most of my belongings in a locker at the station along with a note in schoolboy French explaining that I hoped to be back, and then walked over the horizon at sunset. I was embarked on my discovery of the Velay and the Gévaudan. < ... More

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