Peter Craven

Peter Craven

is a prolific Melbourne-based reviewer, literary critic, columnist and essayist. Author Photo © Barbara Oehring

About Peter Craven

Peter Craven is a prolific Melbourne-based reviewer, literary critic, columnist and essayist. He was the founding editor of the Black Inc. Best Australian annuals (Essays, Stories, Poems) and the Quarterly Essay. His work appears regularly in the Age, the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. He won the 2004 Pascall Prize for Critical Writing.

Articles about Peter Craven

Articles by Peter Craven

The Bughouse by Daniel Swift book cover

Old Master, Old Monster: The Bughouse by Daniel Swift

'The trouble is that The Bughouse is constantly outgrowing its own status as a work of interpretation without quite turning into the thing it might be – a biography which is also a work of intrinsic literary quality. What we tend to get is a kind of travelogue and personal journey into the environs of Pound’s incarceration.'

Julian Barnes The Noise of Time Cover

One Hand Behind His Back: The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

'It doesn’t take long to realise that in The Noise of Time we’re not only in Russia, the fabled disnatured Russia of the Soviet and Stalinist dispensation, but in some gulag of the mind, some imprisoning sterility of the spirit. It takes a little longer — but the presentiment grows like recurrent music — and then there is the distinct realisation that we are reading a particular kind of fiction, a novel in which the writer has one hand tied behind his back.'

Mannix by Brenda Niall Cover

The Greatest Churchman: Mannix
by Brenda Niall

Daniel Mannix is the greatest churchman in Australian history, but he was far too much of a turbulent priest for the College of Cardinals. This was the man who opposed Billy Hughes’ referendum on conscription and won. This is the man who split the Labor Party down the middle in 1956 and did everything in his considerable power to keep it out of office.

Invisible giants: Making Make-Believe Real by Garry Wills

Garry Wills is a great American political essayist and historian whose imagination has always been set on fire by the power of the word in the time of Elizabeth I. In his new book, he writes about it at length. And it is an extraordinary thing to try to imagine the Elizabethan moment and do justice to the majesty of its artistic achievements ...

The Young Lion by Blanche d'Alpuget cover

Orchestrated tusheries: The Young Lion by Blanche d’Alpuget

It seems, on the face of it, a bit bizarre that Blanche d’Alpuget should have written what is clearly the first of a series of novels about Henry II, and a bit odd too that she should have called it The Young Lion.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre

Cast as a spy: A Delicate Truth
by John le Carré

So there is a sense in which The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was an instant classic, like Psycho or A Streetcar Named Desire. How does it stand up? ...more than anything le Carré had so far written, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a work of great moral power. It is full of complex, ambivalent emotion and a sense of the supremely pitiable, maybe even tragic, nature of human life.

Avuncular question marks: The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee

Now, we have a new novel with the bizarre title (for Coetzee anyway) of The Childhood of Jesus. It comes with a cover of a young child in sunglasses and dress-up cloak and is like nothing on earth, and not much else in the history of literature.