No 249 - March 2003

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Patrick McCaughey's Essay: A Sketch Portrait of Fred Williams , Edwina Preston reviews Barry Dickins' Black + Whiteley , Morag Fraser reviews the Morris & Co. exhibition, Peter Robb reviews Raymond John Howgego's Encyclopedia of Exploration , Bridget Griffen-Foley's essay on 200 years of newspapers, Allan Patience reviews Peter Singer's One World , Simon Caterson reviews Peter Temple's White Dog , Gay Bilson reviews Angela Heuzenroeder and Catherine Murphy.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 41
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    Bestsellers / Subscription.
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03)
    This item outlines the February 2003 Bestsellers, subscription information from this issue, and 2002 Bestsellers.
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    Festival Days.
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Armstrong, Judith
    'What do women want?' Even if Sigmund Freud didn't have writers' festivals in mind when he framed his famous question, it is apt enough in the context of the many pleasant-faced, intelligent-looking, female ticket-holders at these celebrations of readerly jouissance. Mingling with them during the first three days of the Western Australian Writers' Festival - one of the activities of the cutely named PIAF, or Perth International Arts Festival - what Armstrong wanted was to find out why they were there, other than to hear celebrity speakers such as Michael Palin (Booked Out).
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    Magic Moments. "Modern Enchantments: The Cultural Power of Secular Magic" by Simon During. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Salzman, Paul
    During's discussion of magic lanterns, photography and film is extremely suggestive and stimulating, but at the same time it remains rather fragmentary: a series of suggestions, rather than a continuous argument. During disarmingly admits to this process: 'my argument as presented so far [this on page 277!] skips and swerves and depends upon a number of coincidences and loose connections.' He then advances, in the last pages of his book, his overarching argument about modernity's intertwining with the history of secular magic. Rather than 'argument', one might call this a richly illustrated suggestion that sums up a stimulating, clearly written, rich, but slightly frustrating book.
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    Dazzling Complexes. "After Electra: Rage, Grief and Hope in Twentieth-Century Fiction" by Eden Liddelow. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Rutherford, Jennifer
    This book continues the conversation between psycholanalysis and literature, drawing on Klein, Kristeva, Deleuze and Guattari to frame the work of twentieth-century women writers in the psycho-pathology of their time. The book's argument rests on mapping the Kleinian traumatic scenario - '[the child's] violent feelings of anxiety, splitting and rage towards the mother on withdrawal of the breast, and later the grief that goes with fear of being left abandoned and alone if that rage is expressed' - onto twentieth-century social and textual relations. In essays on nine writers (Marguerite Duras, Eva Figes, Janet Frame, Helen Garner, Nadine Gordimer, Elizabeth Jolley, Jean Rhys, Susan Sontag and Ania Walwicz), Liddelow explores how each one offers a path beyond the identification and assimilation of child to mother - self to other - which, in her analysis, dominates intersubjective relations in the twentieth century.
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    National News.
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Holmes, Robin; Ayres, Marie-Louise
    The National Library holds more than 50,000 pieces of Australian sheet music as part of its collection of 200,000 music items. The Library collects, holds and individually preserves 'mint condition' copies of all music currently published in Australia, by Australians or which are related to Australia. But the National Library also 'hunts and gathers' post-1830 treasures that, through serendipity, have survived those traditional repositories: the piano stool or the box in the shed.
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    Seeds in the Woods. "Barossa Food" by Angela Heuzenroeder and "The Market: Stories, History and Recipes from the Adelaide Central Market" by Catherine Murphy. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Bilson, Gay
    Catherine Murphy’s "The Market" is not a major work in the way that "Barossa Food" is, but both books share a belief in placing recognition fair and square in specific communities and the lives of 'ordinary' people rather than turning produce and dishes into costume jewellery for the affluent. Both spoon healing broth, not tainted concoctions, and both write encomia for the conjunction of people and place.
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    Breaking the Ice. "Secrets and Spies: The Harbin Files" by Mara Moustafine. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Beecham, Rodney
    Harbin is a city in north China. In the 1920s it was a city of Russians: workers and their families associated with the Chinese Eastern Railway (CER), effectively a Russian colony in Manchuria; Jews who had fled from Tsarist persecution (discriminatory policies were not practised in Russian Manchuria); 'Whites' driven out more recently by the Bolshevik victory. Mara Moustafine was born in Harbin, in 1954: on her father’s side half-Russian Orthodox and half-Muslim Tatar, on her mother's all-Russian Jew. "Secrets and Spies" is Moustafine's first book. It records her search for the missing chapters of her family story.
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    Catholic Daydreams. [poem]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Ryan, Brendan
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    Over the Rainbow. "George Pell" by Tess Livingstone, "A Long Way From Rome: Why The Australian Catholic Church is in Crisis" by Chris McGillion (ed) and "The Suicidal Church: Can The Anglican Church be Saved?" by Caroline Miley. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Rickard, John
    Just as it used to be said that the middle class was always rising, in recent times it seems as if the churches are in perpetual crisis. And it is now almost a cliché to remark the apparent paradox that, while religion is in decline, the hunger for spirituality is increasing. These three books all present different perspectives on the crisis facing the two largest denominations in Australia: Roman Catholic and Anglican. Each in its own way makes for depressing reading.
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    Media. [essay]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Griffen-Foley, Bridget
    Newspapers love anniversaries. Anniversaries of disasters, political milestones and sporting triumphs make good copy. Newspaper anniversaries are even better, providing publishing companies with opportunities to celebrate - and remind loyal readers of - their historical significance and their 'scoops'. The New South Wales press historian R.B. Walker included an entry in his index for 'firsts': the first newspaper at Maitland, the first penny daily, the first tabloid and so on. Doubtless the publications themselves crowed about such milestones at the time. The issues and problems now confronting traditional hard-copy newspapers are not so different from those that faced their twentieth- and even nineteenth-century counterparts: cost of newsprint, reliance on advertising support, influence of new media technologies, attempts of governments to control the flow of information, and repressive libel laws. Meanwhile, the Australian people live in a society with perhaps the most concentrated print media ownership in the Western world.
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    Whatever Happened to Feminism? Review of "Feminism and the History of Philosophy" by Genevieve Lloyd (ed). [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Keuneman, Katrine Pilcher
    The essays in this collection represent a range of styles and approaches, variously scholarly, hermetic, reflective, boldly argued or tightly dialectical. All are well-written and intellectually worthwhile. The quality and interest of the project are a credit to both the editor, Genevieve Lloyd, and Susan James, the general editor of the Oxford Feminism series, of which this book is a part.
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    Paramount Place. "Main Currents in Western Environmental Thought" by Peter Hay and "Vandiemonian Essays" by Pete Hay. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Bantick, Christopher
    Poet, scholar, teacher, writer and essayist are just a few terms that could be used to describe Peter Hay (or 'Pete Hay' as he presents himself on the second of these book covers). Hay, as Reader in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Tasmania, is an internationally respected environmental thinker. His searching new book "Main Currents in Western Environmental Thought" offers an insightful assessment of the basis for the environmentalism familiarly found in Green politics. Hay's versatility and range of passionate concerns are revealed in his personal essays. His collection "Vandiemonian Essays" centralises place as a means to understand self and the main currents of contemporary living. While Hay is capable of writing coolly detached academic treatises, here he successfully makes the transition to populist essays.
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    Spinoza's Advice. "Against Paranoid Nationalism: Searching for a Home in a Shrinking Society" by Ghassan Hage and "Hope: New Philosophies for Change" by Mary Zournazi (ed). [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Broinowski, Alison
    In his much-discussed documentary "Bowling for Columbine", Mike Moore pursues a practical question: what is it that makes so many Americans shoot each other? He finds an abstract answer: fear. The more guns people have, the less safe they feel. What Moore in his way is doing, and what Paul Davies, Alain de Botton and others are doing in theirs, is popularising philosophy. People for whom faith and belief provide no answers are turning to philosophy in growing numbers. The current proliferation of philosophical books, and books about philosophy, is matched by the evident hunger of readers for discussion of important ideas, in comprehensible English.
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    Peter Singer and the Bovver Boys. "One World: The Ethics of Globalization" by Peter Singer. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Patience, Allan
    Singer's lucid ethical enquiry demands that we focus intelligently and independently on selfish states and rogue-like super-states. Maybe we Australians, with our wealth of multicultural experience, have something to say to a globalising world about such matters. But we need to pay more attention to books like this one, rather than to ranting ideological curmudgeons of the Revivalist Right, if our country is going to be heard - and respected - in the great debates about globalisation.
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    Strange Truths. "Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16: 1940-1980, Pik-Z" by John Ritchie and Diane Langmore (eds). [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Thompson, John
    Like sport, the "Australian Dictionary of Biography" is a national institution. Since publication commenced in 1966, the appearance of each new volume is one of the perennial delights of Australian letters. Now, with Volume 16, General Editor John Ritchie and deputy Diane Langmore present the lives of 673 Australians who died in the period from 1940 to 1980. This new volume, the last of four in its series, represents Australians whose names fall alphabetically within the division Pik–Z. While Volume 16 will have a guaranteed life in private and public reference libraries, it deserves to be read in its own right as a key to understanding the human condition shaped and defined by the peculiar exigencies of Australian life and experience. If we need to be reminded, it will tell us that Mark Twain's 'land of the most beautiful lies' is also the repository of many strange truths.
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    The Horror. "Encyclopedia of Exploration to 1800" by Raymond John Howgego. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Robb, Peter
    You open Raymond John Howgego's book and dive into the world's great and terrible past. "The Encyclopedia of Exploration" is a vast, meticulous and absorbing record of human restlessness that seems to be quite without precedent. Designed and published in Australia, printed in China in clear fine type laid out on good opaque paper in well-organised entries, its nearly 1200 large pages are sturdily bound in olive green cloth and supplied with three silver ribbon bookmarks. All this costs just under $300, which is a bargain. This is a necessary book, produced not by 'a team of specialists' huddled in the shelter of an institution, but by a single scholar driven by passion.
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    The Brightest of True Names: A Sketch Portrait of Fred Williams. [essay]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) McCaughey, Patrick
    For McCaughey, Fred Williams remains the brightest of the true names. Two decades after his death, his art has taken on an epic quality, the long struggle to realise fully the extremes and the norm of the Australian landscape. The world of Sherbrooke Forest, the waterlogged paddocks of Lysterfield, the dry plain stretching below the You Yangs, these familiar and accessible places are held in balance against the storm-tossed clouds over Mount Kosciusko, the burning, natural monuments of the Pilbara, the arid coastline of Western Australia, biting into the Indian Ocean.
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    Lest We Forget."Sydney Sandstone" by Gary Deirmendjian (ed) and "John Horbury Hunt: Radical Architect 1838-1904" by Peter Reynolds, Lesley Muir and Joy Hughes. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Tibbits, George
    The camera is the eye through which we are able to appreciate the great Sydney-based architect John Horbury Hunt (1838–1904), in whose memory both an exhibition (at the Museum of Sydney, August to December 2002) and this fine book pay homage.Though some of his buildings still stand, one, captured with fuzzy figures and unmade grounds, Booloominbah of the 1880s, now the administrative offices of the University of New England at Armidale, is like a becalmed architectural ghost glimpsed in the mist of time past. The camera has us looking at an architectural and social culture long gone. "Sydney Sandstone", 'the act of pure indulgence', is a fine collection of colour photographs by Gary Deirmendjian of buildings and details built of, or faced with, sandstone quarried from around Sydney. They are grouped in what might be called photographic essays: Places of Learning, Places of Worship, Public Buildings, Commerce and Trade, and, as a holdall for what is left, Out and About and Greater Sydney. Between these groups are short essays on different aspects of sandstone. Among the photographs there are a few reminders of changing times: among the places of learning are the old Darlinghurst gaol and the Marine Services building on Circular Quay. There is also hidden humour: a splendid axial view of the old sandstone GPO has the cenotaph in Martin Place in the foreground on which are the sacred words 'Lest We Forget'! Surprisingly, there is no section on Places of Residence.
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    Complex by the Yarra. "The Place Across the River: The Story of the Building of the Victorian Arts Centre" by Vicki Fairfax. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Lewis, Miles
    The Victorian Arts Centre is not the Sydney Opera House, but, in its humbler way, it is also a miraculous creation. The reader of Vicki Fairfax's account will be struck by the serendipitous way in which the institution came into existence and achieved its present, and now seemingly inevitable, form. But that reader must grapple first with the more fundamental question of what in fact constitutes the Arts Centre.
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    Art in Brief. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-03) Stewart, Lolla
    This items provides brief reviews of "Elwyn Lynn: Metaphor + Texture" by Peter Pinson; "Ivor Hele: The Productive Artist" by Jane Hylton; "Wimmera: The Work of Philip Hunter" by Ashley Crawford; "Our Country: Australian Federation Landscapes 1900–1914" by Ron Radford; "Intersections in Sound and Sculpture" by Ros Bandt; "Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968–2002" by Jason Smith and Charles Green; "James Darling: Instinct, Imagination, Physical Work" by Daniel Thomas; "The Full Dress: An Encounter with the National Gallery of Australia" by Les Murray; "2nd Sight: Australian Photography in the National Gallery of Victoria" by Isobel Crombie and Susan van Wyk; and "Lux et Nox" by Bill Henson.
Copyright to all textual material owned by Australian Book Review Inc. Flinders Dspace has made every effort to contact the copyright owners of other material, and will remove items upon request.