Australian Literature in the Early 20th Century!

We began today with a glance at Henry Lawson’s “Drifted Back”, a short story which encapsulated aspects of his own life story, but which also reflected back on Lawson’s impressions of what was being lost as Australia moved into the new century: Community, Mateship, The Old Bush School, the destruction of the environment with the…

Brett Whiteley & William Blake 2018

Audio Lecture in the Brett Whiteley Studio Audio Lecture 1 in the NSW Art Gallery on Blake’s Job Engravings Audio Lecture 2 in the NSW Art Gallery on Blake’s Job Engravings Brett Whiteley’s “Grain of Sand” in Surry Hills & William Blake in Sydney: Blake’s “Job” in the NSW Art Gallery; What a fabulous connection was made today …

Art Consciousness and Spirit in Times of War

Today we explored Virginia Woolf (“The Mark on the Wall”), T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding” and Katherine Mansfield’s “The Daughters of the Late Colonel”. These are three amazing modernist authors who, in the shadow of war (both the First and Second World Wars) were trying to find a way through to some personal or spiritual certainty.…

Australian Colonialism from 1880 on: Republicanism, Feminism, Federation, and beyond…

Firstly let me share some more Outstanding Blogs. These are all inspirational! Thank you for your creative work on these. And thank you all for such a great Blog Crop! If these are anything to go by I am really  looking forward to seeing your final ePortfolios! Nicola on Copacabana Beach Angelina on Letter to…

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell segues into The Book of Job, Whiteley’s Alchemy, Chaucer & Patrick White

Today we explore all those sections of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell that provide a real insight into Blake’s deepest creative purpose and that also help us to understand where Patrick White was coming from in Riders in the Chariot. So we looked at his subversive “Proverbs of Hell” which sanctify the unsanctifiable (in conventional religion); we…

Modernism: T.S.Eliot & Virginia Woolf.

The visit to the art gallery of NSW last week was a perfect introduction to what we entered into today. It makes so much more sense talking about Virginia Woolf’s “Stream of Consciousness” and T.S. Eliot’s fragmented narratives (“These fragments I have shored against my ruins”- The Waste Land) afterhaving seen and discussed Picasso and Kirchner…

Patti Smith & The Doors- their celebration of William Blake’s enduring significance.

Today we launched into The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and especially we began by looking at the ways in which William Blake has become a prophetic figure for the Age of Aquarius in the second half of the Twentieth Century and beyond. It was indeed William Blake who coined the phrase “the New Age” .…

Introductions to Innocence and Experience & The Human Abstract

Today we explored the 2 Introductions (to Innocence and Experience) and found that both these works give a clear insight into the motivation behind each of these books. The Introduction to Innocence presents the aspiration that these songs will celebrate the joy, harmony and sense of well-being that children bring with them into the world:…

Im Westen Nichts Neues: All Quiet on the Western Front – Remarque

Link for the Film Version of All Quiet on the Western Front.  Today we had the fabulous experience of opening our hearts and minds to this wonderful, astonishing book by Erich Maria Remarque All Quiet on the Western Front or, in German Im Westen Nichts Neues (literarily: In the West Nothing New). This title is alluded to on the…

Bobby Wabalanginy’s challenge to Xenophobic Australia

From Lin Onus’s “Hills Hoist” – NSW Art Gallery. Kim Scott’s Bobby Wabalanginy is a character who dares to confront the hardened utilitarianism of the European invaders with dance, humour and song. The closing scenes of the novel in which Bobby does a hambone (striptease) -bar his bright red underpants- in front of a kangaroo…

creativity in time of war

  Today we broached the world of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke. The focus was on the way the English language became transformed during this period with the direct impact of the horrors of the First World War. The jingoistic idealism of Rupert Brooke was kicked out by the hard hitting, grating, consonantal…

Peer Review No 1

Alexandra’s Blog is at https://s00240376.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/the-journey-begins/ You have set this up very well Alexandra. The blog looks good and is correctly categorised as Australian Literature. The writing is also imaginative and draws the reader into the experience. However you could simplify your language and speak more directly from experience. At times you seem to be pushing for…

The Visionary Imagination: William Blake- Innocence & Experience Week 2

We had another wonderful engagement with some of the core ideas underpinning Blake’s vision of the states of the human psyche that are so powerfully dramatized through the contrast between his two books The Songs of Innocence and The Songs of Experience. We looked today especially at the two Nurse’s Songs, one presenting the state of containment and inner…

Week 1: The Mountain Has Its Own Meaning

Today we explored the meaning of this wonderfully suggestive line from Judith Wright’s poem “Rockface”. Judith Wright’s line picks up a core theme in Australian Literature from the earliest days of colonization through to our own times: what is our attitude to the Australian landscape? Is it utilitarian and appropriative? Or is it open to…

Literature in Spring 2018

Hi All, this semester I am teaching Australian Literature to first years (with long-time colleague Elaine Lindsay): You can listen to Elaine in an interview she had on ABC radio recently with novelist Tom Keneally: http://www.abc.net.au/sundaynights/stories/s4432426.htm I am also teaching Twentieth Century Literature to second years and The Visionary Imagination (William Blake, Patrick White and Brett…

Shakespeare Blogs 2018

Hello All, I have had a wonderful day trawling through the ePortfolio/ Blogs produced by the Shakespeare Class of 2018. Such talent and inspiration is hard to find anywhere else. The top 6 ePortfolio/Blogs (all scoring High Distinctions) were as follows. I would encourage you all to scroll through these as powerful examples of what…

Shakespeare’s The Tempest Week 2- Summary and Blog Topics

Today we focussed attention on the Globe Theatre’s recent production of The Tempest. What a wonderfully powerful production this is! In Tutorials we concentrated on a couple of poems by George Herbert which provided a nice balance to the intensity of dramatic confrontation in the early scenes of The Tempest.  Here is a useful link to…

Clemente Campbelltown – Prose 2: Tim Winton, George Orwell, Henry Lawson…

Please find here a reading of Tim Winton’s “Sand” together with a class discussion on this amazingly virtuosic prose writer who seems to be able to bend language to the shape of whatever takes his fancy! Enjoy this wonderful class interaction with the students at Campbelltown! Click on each of these images to enlarge them:…

A Midsummer Night’s Dream- performance rehearsal & Shakespeare Sonnets 18, 65 & 73

Hi All, Scroll to the bottom of this blog for audio files for today’s tutorials and lecture (which was mainly a workshop). But before you go there, please listen to this amazing discussion about the nature of BEAUTY- a topic so close to Shakespeare’s heart- here spoken about by the late Irish poet John O’Donoghue.…

New York: Literature & Drama 2019 – Information Session.

Hi All, prospective New York (Literature and Drama) Students 2019. Please find below both the slides that were used during the information session (with James Marland and Michael Griffith) AND a recording of what we presented – and some of your questions- please be in touch with either James (James.marland@acu.edu.au) or myself (Michael.griffith@acu.edu.au)  if there…

Challenges to Utilitarian Education: Matthew Arnold & Cardinal Newman…

This week we explored the ways in which writers and artists in the Victorian Age tried to undermine the prevailing utilitarian views on education. We have seen this presented very strongly in Charles Dickens’ Hard Times with his emphasis on the importance of Wonder and Imagination as counters to a world run on facts. Matthew Arnold…

Shakespeare Week 3: Marlow, Ralegh, Shakespeare ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream/ As You Like It)

Originally posted on Literature & Life Spring 2018:
We covered some really interesting ground in class today through exploring the Pastoral tradition as presented by Marlow (in “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” and as knocked down by Ralegh (in “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”). So these poems are presenting critically the whole idea of…

Shakespeare Week 7: Marlow, Ralegh, Shakespeare ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

We covered some really interesting ground in class today through exploring the Pastoral tradition as presented by Marlow (in “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” and as knocked down by Ralegh (in “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”). So these poems are presenting critically the whole idea of the Pastoral world: is it a great…

Shakespeare Week 6- from Classical Tragedy to Romantic Comedy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Today we broached one of Shakespeare’s most loved plays, his celebratory fantasy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We explored the ways in which Shakespeare in his opening scenes ricochets his audience from the high-sounding, poetical iambic pentameter of the Greek court through to the passionate language of the Romantic lurvers and then down into the depths of…