No 246 - November 2002

Permanent URI for this collection

'Homer and the Holocaust': Andrea Goldsmith, Peter Craven reviews Bernard Smith's A Pavane for Another Time , Raimond Gaita's essay 'Religion and Justice', Geoffrey Bolton reviews a biography of Joh Bjelke-Petersen


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 32
  • Item
    Girl Power Besting the Net. "Girl Heroes: The New Force in Popular Culture" by Susan Hopkins. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Lumby, Catharine
    "Girl Heroes" is a book that meditates deeply on the question of the image and objectification, and on what's at stake in the Nietzschean ideal of aesthetic subjectivity, a realm in which the divisions between illusion and reality, art and life, dissolve. Indeed, one of the things that makes this book so pleasurable to read is that the author has such a confident grasp of the ethical and broader philosophical terrain in which she's working that she's able to make it sound simple.
  • Item
    What's So Special? "The Federation Mirror" by Ross Fitzgerald and "Johannes Bjelke-Peterson: The Lord’s Premier" by Rae Wear. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Bolton, Geoffrey
    Wear's book should be the starting point for readers wanting a balanced overview of Bjelke-Peterson's career. Derek Townsend published his book little more than halfway through his premiership; Alan Metcalfe was obsequiously partisan; Hugh Lunn did bring the insights of a shrewd professional journalist to his account, but Wear also has the advantage of drawing on several studies by respected political scientists, as well as Cameron Hazlehurst's biography of Sir Gordon Chalk, and Paul Reynolds's of Mike Ahern. Ross Fitzgerald, an academic who was one of Bjelke-Peterson's more outspoken critics, may come some way towards identifying what's so special about Queensland in "The Federation Mirror". Having presided over Queensland's Centenary of Federation committee, Fitzgerald undertook the task of summarising the year's activities. Such chronicles are often predictable and boring. Fitzgerald had the bright idea of looking at the public activities of eight representative Queensland communities in the Federation year of 1901 and comparing them with the celebrations of 2001. His findings offer some interesting insights into Queensland's political culture.
  • Item
    Palace Inventory (Partial): Sleeping Beauty. [poem]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Middleton, Kate
  • Item
    Eschewing Jouissance. "Gender Trouble Down Under: Australian Masculinities" by David Coad and "From Camp to Queer: Remaking the Australian Homosexual" by Robert Reynolds. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Willett, Graham
    Although called "From Camp to Queer", this book is really about the early years of the gay liberation movement in Australia - from 1970 to 1974. In that sense, "From Camp to Gay" would have been more accurate; the Epilogue on the rise of queer in the 1990s is pretty much an afterword. The early 1970s was an extraordinary period when gay people set out to challenge the criminalisation, vilification and self-loathing that they had inherited - to remake themselves and the world. It is a story that has been told several times now, even in relation to Australia. David Coad's "Gender Trouble Down Under" is also concerned with Australia's very queer history, but his is a broader canvas. He offers a survey of Australian masculinities since 1788, generally chronological, but, given its cultural studies approach, this neat narrative is constantly being disrupted. So the chapter that begins with the convicts lurches into anti-gay violence in the late twentieth century and youth suicide. Ned Kelly and his cross-dressing sidekick Steve Hart jostle up against Chopper Read. Bushwomen and their masculinity find themselves juggled with Dame Nellie Melba and Dykes on Bikes. It is all rather unsettling. It is, of course, meant to be.
  • Item
    A Matter of Gravitas. "Don Bradman: Challenging the Myth" by Brett Hutchins and "Warne's World" by Louis Nowra. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Matthews, Brian Ernest
    "Don Bradman" and "Warne's World" are two very different books, and in many ways they sit uneasily together - for a reviewer at least. But they reveal among other things why Warne, with Bradman-like gifts, does not occupy a Bradman-like place in Australian culture: he is too unashamedly a child of his age, and that age, so the narrative goes, is crass and corrupt and commercial in contrast to the great days of the Don, the golden age of cricket integrity.
  • Item
    The Cabinet of Wins and A Racing Life. [poems]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Sherborne, Craig
  • Item
    Rooming with Lillian. "Lillian Roxon: Mother of Rock" by Robert Milliken. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Haigh, Gideon
    Martin Amis's encapsulation of biography is that it should convey a sense of what it would be like to spend some time alone in a room with the subject. Robert Milliken begins his story of Australian journalist and rock music taxonomist Lillian Roxon by revealing that he once went one better: thirty years ago, as a rising reporter in London, he not only met Roxon at a boutique hotel in Notting Hill but jawboned with her at length. That is to say, she talked and he listened.
  • Item
    Freud in London. "i am the voice left from drinking: the Models - from the 'burbs to 'Barbados' and beyond" by James Freud. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Nichols, David
    Freud has left the music business and alcoholism for a sober career in advertising. Several times he acknowledges his wife and children for providing the incentive: it's that kind of a redemption tale. Whether Freud's book provides any insight into the music industry of the 1970s and 1980s is another matter. Better books about Australian pop musicians remain to be written: conceivably, better books about James Freud himself. While this one has entertaining moments, an engaging if inconsistent style, and the added attraction of Freud's own testimony, a proper assessment of the radical and exciting world of 1980s pop is still in its infancy.
  • Item
    The Hard Way. "From Eternity to Here: Memoirs of an Angry Priest" by John Hanrahan. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Bantick, Christopher
    For those who remember John Hanrahan as an incisive literary critic for "The Age", former editor of ABR, and literary commentator on the ABC, this biographical account, published posthumously, will have great poignancy. Hanrahan was a writer who did it the hard way, because of the struggle involved in being a Catholic priest. In kicking against the pricks, he found his voice. As much as this is a book about an individual attaining peace outside the Catholic Church, it is also a book about making the most of the changes and chances of this fleeting world. In that, Hanrahan touches us all.
  • Item
    The Great Riddle. "The Naked Fish: An Autobiography of Belief" by Ian Hansen. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Steele, Peter
    Given life's pluriform character, any autobiography is inevitably selective: but this 'autobiography of belief' is more open to the variety of experience than many other writings of the self. The domestic plays a great part in it, and Hansen's immediate family are major players, sometimes in a most painful way. Indeed, even though the book's last words, like many before them, are sanguine, it is clearly written out of pain, a pain which cannot be willed away.
  • Item
    Breezy Bell. "The Time of My Life" by John Bell. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) McFarlane, Brian
    Autobiography inevitably involves some sense of reflection on, as well as selection from, the past; not merely a recital of factually affectless information. Australian theatrical producer, actor and company director John Bell offers a breezily easy read, rather than a notably contemplative approach to his life. His Prologue outlines his reasons for writing as being 'part personal, part professional', wondering 'how do you separate the strands?' The professional comes off best, and he articulates his notion that 'our actors should know something of their own theatre history and maybe the theatre-going public should too'. He doesn't altogether avoid the trap of listing titles of productions, with 'sterling performances', but his account of shifting theatrical tastes in the last few decades of the twentieth century is worth having.
  • Item
    Styx and Stones. "The Many-Coloured Land: A Return to Ireland" by Christopher Koch. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) McGirr, Michael
    There are some enticing vignettes in Christopher Koch's new travel memoir. It is hard, however, to work out what story Koch wants to tell in this book about Ireland and the Irish. If "The Many-Coloured Land" has a story of its own, McGirr suspects it is one about violence and its opposite, whatever that might be. There is frequent acknowledgment that the history of Ireland has many bloody chapters. But, in Koch's telling, incidents of violence are nearly always balanced by some insight into the nature of creativity, beauty or hope. Even the landscape features in this way.
  • Item
    Watercolour Memories. "A Pavane for Another Time" by Bernard Smith. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Craven, Peter
    It's a Proustian title, or at any rate a Powellian one, that Bernard Smith has produced for this memoir of his life in the long-ago 1940s, and, yes, there on the cover is Anthony Powell's hero, Poussin. That's doubly appropriate because one of the more vivid figures (though also one of the more saturnine ones) in this remembrance of things past is Anthony Blunt, great scholar of Poussin's work, master spy, eminent director of the Courtauld and critical educator of the Young Bernard.
  • Item
    Private Masterpiece. [poem]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Simpson, R A
  • Item
    Imprints, Contents, Contributors, Advances, Letters and Subscription.
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11)
    This item contains miscellaneous information from this issue.
  • Item
    October Bestellers.
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11)
    This item outlines the Bestsellers for October 2002.
  • Item
    New Standards in a Glorious Grammar. "The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum (eds). [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Burridge, Kate
    Kate Burridge has read many excellent accounts of the English language over the years, but this recent publication by Cambridge University Press is by far the most impressive. In fact, "The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" is for her one of the most superb works of academic scholarship ever to appear on the English linguistics scene. The editors, Rodney Huddleston (Research Consultant, University of Queensland) and Geoffrey K. Pullum (Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Santa Cruz), are leading authorities in this field; so too are their thirteen co-authors. This was a magnificent team effort, spanning more than ten years. Together these linguists have produced a monumental work that offers easily the most comprehensive and thought-provoking treatment of English grammar to date. Nothing rivals this work, with respect to breadth, depth and consistency of coverage.
  • Item
    Ozymandian Lesson. "Blooming English: Observations on the Roots, Cultivation and Hybrids of the English Language" by Kate Burridge and "Speak: A Short History of Languages" by Tore Janson. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Moore, Bruce
    These two books differ greatly in scope and style, but they are both highly interesting and enjoyable. Tore Janson is concerned with the history of languages over the past 40,000 years and (in a brief coda to his argument) into the next two thousand years. Kate Burridge deals primarily with the present state of English, although, on many occasions, when she is explaining the present state of things, she examines the English of earlier periods.
  • Item
    Lexical Memories. "Lexical Images: The Story of the Australian National Dictionary" by Bill Ramson. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Hudson, Nick
    Reviewers often like to start with a simple statement of what a book is all about. In the present case, this is difficult, because there are two books within these covers. The first three chapters fit its subtitle, 'The Story of the Australian National Dictionary', while the next seven fit the title "Lexical Images", being essays on aspects of Australian history and culture as reflected in the pages of the "Australian National Dictionary" (1988). If a single theme has to be extracted, it is that historical lexicography is a fascinating process, generating a valuable product.
  • Item
    A Second Section. "Skinned by Light: Poems 1989–2002" by Anthony Lawrence. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2002-11) Ryan, Brendan
    Anthony Lawrence's latest collection of poetry, "Skinned by Light: Poems 1989–2002", a revision of his "New and Selected" (1998), is a much tighter work than its predecessor - 121 as against 335 pages. While some may wonder why UQP has published another 'Selected' from Lawrence in the space of four years, the publication of his novel, "In the Half Light" (2000), justifies introducing Lawrence's poetry to a wider readership.
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.