Sparked by concerns about the dwindling space for literary criticism in Australian media, the Sydney Review of Books is an online review site focusing on Australian writers and writing. Find out more.
In the year that I first became ill, I recognised the physicality of Teresa’s hunger, and I carried it with me for years, although the rest of For Love Alone did not stir me – I was nineteen, and probably too callow, too cold and self-obsessed to fully understand it. But in the last two years, I started hearing so many writers talk again about Christina Stead.
Much of what I read in the field of criticism these days is not purely literary criticism… but essays which are also fictions, perhaps referring to literary works in passing, in order to reference, interrogate and explore culture: its fashions, its trends, its past and future.
Australia’s Asia offers counter-narratives to the received Australian narrative of Asia, dominated by the implementation, impact and slow dismantling of the White Australia policy.
Have Australians overcome the cultural cringe and learned, as Phillips hoped they would, ‘the art of being unselfconsciously ourselves’? I am less sanguine about rumours of cringe’s demise…I think an example of how the cringe currently operates can be found by examining an increasingly marginal – if symbolically important – cultural form: the single-author short story collection.
It is conventional wisdom in the publishing business that newspaper reviews, even negative ones, can help to sell books. But while book publishers are beset by structural changes to their industry … the newspaper business is suffering an even more painful struggle, to evolve or die.
Some people pursue new trends, some people seek to preserve the past, but we all find it very difficult to shake off the influence of tradition. Tradition, like air, is everywhere.
The rhetoric of the publicity campaign for the Classics series is grounded in blame and indignation about the alleged ‘neglect’ of Australian literature by publishers, editors, journalists and, most of all, academics…
Hobbyist doggerel and Booty Calls: Ben Etherington on Quadrant, government subsidies, and the Books of the Year. Plus a response from Jennifer Maiden.