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OZLIT 1st Series (The Well in the Shadow)


This section of the site is now complete in that I don’t currently have any intention of going beyond the 38 essays offered below. Some readers will be aware that the first 20 essays have now appeared in book form as The Well in the Shadow: a writer’s journey through Australian literature, TransitLounge, Melbourne 2010. I wish to thank Barry Scott, publisher at TransitLounge for making this possible, and the Australia Council for some much appreciated financial assistance.

A second set of 18 essays, collectively entitled Truthful Fictions (a name borrowed from Jessica Anderson’s Tirra Lirra by the River), is offered below, and I hope that this collection will also appear in book form but must wait to see the commercial success or otherwise of The Well in the Shadow.

Please note that work is continuing on the translation of the twenty essays in The Well in the Shadow. The translator is Gong Jing (Serene) of Sichuan University, Chengdu, China. Thirteen of the twenty essays are currently available. The availability of a translation is indicated under ‘Downloads’ (see below).


 

Introduction

Downloads
> PDF Cover Introduction
> PDF Text Introduction


Unfortunate affairs

1. Unfortunate affairs
A discussion of Maurice Guest (Henry Handel Richardson, 1908) and Monkey Grip (Helen Garner, 1977).

Downloads
> PDF Cover Unfortunate affairs
> PDF Text Unfortunate affairs


Jack and George: who owns a life?

2. Jack and George: who owns a life?
George Johnston’s My Brother Jack as seen by Jack himself.

Downloads
> PDF Cover Jack and George: who owns a life?
> PDF Text Jack and George: who owns a life?
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


Habe Dank!  A writer’s release

3. Habe Dank!  A writer’s release
A short survey of Helen Garner’s first phase.

Downloads
> PDF Cover Habe Dank!  A writer’s release
> PDF Text Habe Dank!  A writer’s release


Judith Wright; the basis of our nation?

4. Judith Wright; the basis of our nation?
The Generations of Men (1959) and its themes reconsidered in The Cry for the Dead (1981).

Downloads
> PDF Cover Judith Wright; the basis of our nation?
> PDF Text Judith Wright; the basis of our nation?
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


Most theatrical when most personal

5. Most theatrical when most personal
A consideration of Hal Porter’s three volumes of autobiography: The Watcher on the Cast-Iron Balcony (Faber & Faber, London, 1963); The Paper Chase (Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1966); and The Extra (Nelson, West Melbourne, 1975).

Downloads
> PDF Cover Most theatrical when most personal
> PDF Text Most theatrical when most personal
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


Private Manning & Private Bourne: Her Privates We

6. Private Manning & Private Bourne: Her Privates We
A discussion of The Middle Parts of Fortune, also known as Her Privates We, by Frederic Manning, first published by Peter Davies, London, in 1929 (Middle Parts) and 1930 (Privates), with the author identified as ‘Private 19022’.

Downloads
> PDF Cover Private Manning & Private Bourne: Her Privates We
> PDF Text Private Manning & Private Bourne: Her Privates We


Interlude 1: two family sagas

Interlude 1: two family sagas

Downloads
> PDF Cover two family sagas
> PDF Text two family sagas


The teller of tales presents The Fortunes of Richard Mahony

7. The teller of tales presents The Fortunes of Richard Mahony

Downloads
> PDF Cover The teller of tales presents The Fortunes of Richard Mahony
> PDF Text The teller of tales presents The Fortunes of Richard Mahony


Keeping it in the family: one way to interpret the past

8. Keeping it in the family: one way to interpret the past
A look at All That Swagger (1936) by way of seeing how Miles Franklin reconciled her need to be at one with her nation’s past, and with her family too, while expressing something of what she felt was the spirit of her time.

Downloads
> PDF Cover Keeping it in the family: one way to interpret the past
> PDF Text Keeping it in the family: one way to interpret the past


Interlude 2: as far apart as ever?

Interlude 2: as far apart as ever?

Downloads
> PDF Cover as far apart as ever?
> PDF Text as far apart as ever?


The un-loving of Coonardoo

9. The un-loving of Coonardoo
A white woman’s version of a black woman’s life, first published in 1929.

Downloads
> PDF Cover The un-loving of Coonardo
> PDF Text The un-loving of Coonardo
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


10. Sally Morgan’s My Place

10. Sally Morgan’s My Place
An Indian discovers she’s aboriginal; the long struggle to find a way back.

Downloads
> PDF Cover Sally Morgan’s My Place
> PDF Text Sally Morgan’s My Place
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


Interlude 3: Marshall and Porter, Alan and Hal

Interlude 3: Marshall and Porter, Alan and Hal

Downloads
> PDF Cover Marshall and Porter, Alan and Hal
> PDF Text Marshall and Porter, Alan and Hal


Where certainty lies; his father’s world

11. Where certainty lies; his father’s world
Some thoughts about the values inherent in Alan Marshall’s writing.

Downloads
> PDF Cover Where certainty lies; his father’s world
> PDF Text Where certainty lies; his father’s world
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


A broth of stars; the sky without mother

12. A broth of stars; the sky without mother
Some thoughts about the way Hal Porter makes the reader complicit in what happens inside the writer’s mind.

Downloads
> PDF Cover A broth of stars; the sky without mother
> PDF Text A broth of stars; the sky without mother
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


The Eye of the Storm: but what is the storm?

13. The Eye of the Storm: but what is the storm?
A short answer and a long one to a tricky question.

Downloads
> PDF Cover The Eye of the Storm: but what is the storm?
> PDF Text The Eye of the Storm: but what is the storm?
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


Interlude 4: something of a divide

Interlude 4: something of a divide

Downloads
> PDF Cover something of a divide
> PDF Text something of a divide


Tomorrow and Tomorrow: Sydney burns, and a future is revealed

14. Tomorrow and Tomorrow: Sydney burns, and a future is revealed
What can we make of a long-disregarded novel?

Downloads
> PDF Cover Tomorrow and Tomorrow: Sydney burns, and a future is revealed
> PDF Text Tomorrow and Tomorrow: Sydney burns, and a future is revealed


A ring that’s lost; is there something better?

15. A ring that’s lost; is there something better?
Patrick White’s management of plot in A Fringe of Leaves.

Downloads
> PDF Cover A ring that’s lost; is there something better?
> PDF Text A ring that’s lost; is there something better?
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


Interlude 5: some reasons for writing

Interlude 5: some reasons for writing

Downloads
> PDF Cover some reasons for writing
> PDF Text some reasons for writing


Story and the effacement of story: Beverley Farmer’s The Bone House

16. Story and the effacement of story: Beverley Farmer’s The Bone House

Downloads
> PDF Cover Story and the effacement of story: Beverley Farmer’s The Bone House
> PDF Text Story and the effacement of story: Beverley Farmer’s The Bone House
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


Interlude 6: the otherness of Australia

Interlude 6: the otherness of Australia

Downloads
> PDF Cover the otherness of Australia
> PDF Text the otherness of Australia


What tree is that? Eucalyptus by Murray Bail

17. What tree is that? Eucalyptus by Murray Bail
A man with no name snatches the prize-woman from Mr Cave in a book of endless deception: is there anything we can take as certain?

Downloads
> PDF Cover What tree is that? Eucalyptus by Murray Bail
> PDF Text What tree is that? Eucalyptus by Murray Bail
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


A desert song, or is it? Voss by Patrick White

18. A desert song, or is it? Voss by Patrick White
The interior as a state of mind: something of a shame, really.

Downloads
> PDF Cover A desert song, or is it? Voss by Patrick White
> PDF Text A desert song, or is it? Voss by Patrick White
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


Possession, dispossession, what about re-possession?

19. Possession, dispossession, what about re-possession?
Broken Song: T.G.H.Strehlow and Aboriginal possession by Barry Hill.

Downloads
> PDF Cover Possession, dispossession, what about re-possession?
> PDF Text Possession, dispossession, what about re-possession?


Possession, dispossession, what about re-possession?

20. Singing the country: a first look at Carpentaria by Alexis Wright

Downloads
> PDF Cover Singing the country: a first look at Carpentaria by Alexis Wright
> PDF Text Singing the country: a first look at Carpentaria by Alexis Wright
> for Chinese version of this essay, click on Translations and follow the prompts.


OZLIT 2nd Series (Truthful Fictions)

Gippsland’s first great book

1. Gippsland’s first great book

Downloads
> PDF Cover Gippsland’s first great book
> PDF Text Gippsland’s first great book


 

2. Strangely humble: The Tree of Man by Patrick White

Downloads
> PDF Cover Strangely humble: The Tree of Man by Patrick White
> PDF Text Strangely humble: The Tree of Man by Patrick White


 

3. Capricornia

Downloads
> PDF Cover Capricornia
> PDF Text Capricornia


Questions of scale: a term in Geneva, starting in 1926

4. Questions of scale: a term in Geneva, starting in 1926

Downloads
> PDF Cover Questions of scale: a term in Geneva, starting in 1926
> PDF Text Questions of scale: a term in Geneva, starting in 1926


Another journey with another Frank

5. Another journey with another Frank

Downloads
> PDF Cover Another journey with another Frank
> PDF Text Another journey with another Frank


How the world failed the League of Nations, then began again

6. How the world failed the League of Nations, then began again

Downloads
> PDF Cover How the world failed the League of Nations, then began again
> PDF Text How the world failed the League of Nations, then began again


The living are few, Frank tells us, But the Dead Are Many

7. The living are few, Frank tells us, But the Dead Are Many

Downloads
> PDF Cover The living are few, Frank tells us, But the Dead Are Many
> PDF Text The living are few, Frank tells us, But the Dead Are Many


A master of prose because he knows he shares it

8. A master of prose because he knows he shares it

Downloads
> PDF Cover A master of prose because he knows he shares it
> PDF Text A master of prose because he knows he shares it


 

9. Twyborn? Tri-born? Or some lives as they might have happened?

Downloads
> PDF Cover Twyborn? Tri-born? Or some lives as they might have happened?
> PDF Text Twyborn? Tri-born? Or some lives as they might have happened?


Judith Wright: from The Moving Image to Fourth Quarter

10. Judith Wright: from The Moving Image to Fourth Quarter

Downloads
> PDF Cover Judith Wright: from The Moving Image to Fourth Quarter
> PDF Text Judith Wright: from The Moving Image to Fourth Quarter


A Kangaroo still hopping around in our minds

11. A Kangaroo still hopping around in our minds

Downloads
> PDF Cover A Kangaroo still hopping around in our minds
> PDF Text A Kangaroo still hopping around in our minds


Instead of mockery, a many-sided scrutiny

12. Instead of mockery, a many-sided scrutiny

Downloads
> PDF Cover Instead of mockery, a many-sided scrutiny
> PDF Text Instead of mockery, a many-sided scrutiny


Names galore, and the need for disguise

13. Names galore, and the need for disguise

Downloads
> PDF Cover Names galore, and the need for disguise
> PDF Text Names galore, and the need for disguise


Good, better, best/Never let it rest

14. Good, better, best/Never let it rest
      Till your good is better/And your better best

Read
> Text
Good, better, best/Never let it rest

Download
> PDF Cover Good, better, best/Never let it rest

 


Style: often mentioned, less commonly analysed

15. Style: often mentioned, less commonly analysed

Downloads
> PDF Cover Style: often mentioned, less commonly analysed
> PDF Text Style: often mentioned, less commonly analysed


A place too big: Australia as a collection of regions

16. A place too big: Australia as a collection of regions

Downloads
> PDF Cover A place too big: Australia as a collection of regions
> PDF Text A place too big: Australia as a collection of regions


Tirra Lirra by the River

17. Tirra Lirra by the River

Downloads
> PDF Cover Tirra Lirra by the River
> PDF Text Tirra Lirra by the River


The goddess allows herself to be seen

18. The goddess allows herself to be seen

Downloads
> PDF Cover The goddess allows herself to be seen
> PDF Text The goddess allows herself to be seen


 

An afterword

Downloads
> PDF Cover An afterword
> PDF Text An afterword


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