Spring has Sprung 2019

A Spring morning walk around Cowan brought hundreds of new colours to life: red waratahs, purple comespermum (pink matcheads), purple boronias (both the ledifolia and the pinnata, yellow hakea salicafolio, bright blue dampiera, brilliant yellow ispogon and the powerfully pink eriostomon Australiensis. Add to this the amazing sight of rare night-jar spotted just before dawn…

Visionary Patrick White 2019: Riders in the Chariot

Patrick White: Riders in the Chariot What a wonderful world Patrick White takes us into in this remaking of the Australian social landscape in line with his own prophetic ambition to re-sacralize a spiritually desolate land. As he says in his essay “The Prodigal Son”: Because the void I had to fill was so immense, I…

William Blake’s Job Series juxtaposed against Brett Whiteley’s “Alchemy”

  What an amazing morning and early afternoon was had by us all today, starting in the Print Room in the NSW Art Gallery where we saw the actual, original prints from William Blake’s The Book of Job series. In this transformation Blake tells Job’s story in order to show how religion needs to move…

Patrick White 2019

Patrick White- Australia’s only Literature Nobel Laureate. “In all directions stretched the Great Australia Emptiness, in which the mind is the least of possessions, in which the rich man is the important man… in which beautiful youths and girls stare at life through blind blue eyes… the buttocks of cars grow hourly glassier, food means cake…

African American Literature- Since The Civil War

Images from Today’s Lecture:  African American Writing Recordings from today’s classes: Today we strode through a host of key writers, men and women, who were powerfully proclaiming the need for free expression and total acceptance as humans. Underpinned by Martin Luther King Jr, all these writers expressed passionately their sense of injustice and their need for healing.…

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

I have also: The Bible of Hell: which the world shall have whether they will or no. For Blake The Marriage of Heaven and Hell occurs when the sanctimonious, commandment-loving Angel finally gives up his/her smug sense of superiority and happily embraces the flames of fire and joins the Devil’s party, a party which believes in the presence…

William Blake Songs of Innocence and Experience- Catch-Up-Week

Please find here the images and the wonderful audio discussions that wove around our exploration of some of Blake’s key songs, especially “London”, “The Divine Image” and “The Human Abstract”. Blog topics arising for this week include the following: CREATIVE: Use the first line of any of Blake’s poems and write your own poem, based…

Later Colonial Australian Literature – around the 1890s!

Tom Roberts Bailed Up: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/833/ Hi All, Building on last week’s excursion into the literature of the first half of the 19th Century in Australia, here is a quick survey of some of the material I will be exploring with you this week: Colonial Literature 1890s 2019 This is the period when the Australian idiom in both…

William Blake The Songs of Innocence- 2 – With The Doors and Patti Smith…

Today we launched into The Doors‘ “Break on Through” and spoke about how this was a Blakean 20thC explosion manifesting musically Blake’s core idea of “cleansing the doors of perception” (from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell). We then plunged right on into Patti Smith’s wonderful “My Blakean Year” in which she sings about her heartfelt sense…

Early Colonial Australian Literature (2019)

Hi All, this week we begin our exploration of Nineteenth Century Literature in Colonial Australia. It begins with the voices of convicts, aboriginals, the first “native” born colonial poets (such as Charles Harpur and Henry Kendall) and some of the first women writers in the colony: Louisa Anne Meredith and Catherine Helen Spence. Browse through…

William Blake The Songs of Innocence and Experience 1

HI All, We had a fabulous morning (despite the sound system glitches) on William Blake’s “Contrary States” and then the way this idea is embedded and dramatized in The Songs of Innocence and Experience.  We talked about the ways in which these ideas have been taken up by Allen Ginsberg, by the Rock Group The Doors…

William Blake Visionary Imagination 1

Hi All, this is where I will be posting up a great deal about William Blake and Visionary Imagination… stay tuned: William Blake’s Death Mask: what a powerful face! In today’s lecture we looked at what is meant by “Visionary” imagination, with a special reference to Allen Ginsberg’s epiphany in reading the poem “Ah! Sunflower”. …

American Literature 2019 Session 1

  Today we romped through an historical and cultural survey of American Literature, beginning with the early 17th Century and ending up with Tupak today! We also had a wonderful tutorial exploring Thoreau’s decision to live “deliberately” and not to die feeling that he hadn’t really lived. This paragraph provoked some powerful deep self-questioning by…

Australian Literature Mid-Winter Spring 2019- Week 1: The Mountain has its own Meaning.

In Australian Literature today we explored the themes that arise from the line from Judith Wright’s poem “Rockface” in which she declares “the remnant of a mountain has its own meaning”. This image from Russel Drysdale’s Desert Landscape captures similar resonances to Judith Wright’s poem: https://m.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/OA15.1959/ Drysdale, like Judith Wright seems to honour the dignity of…

A Pome- from a recently discovered Manuscript of a play by W. Shakespeare

Spring is come The grass is riz Oi wonder where the flowers iz But Shakespeare was wrong this time: the flowers are blooming, exploding around Sydney now in the dead of winter!!. This is the amazing aspect of living on the 33rd parallel: the seasons cannot make up their minds: is it winter? is it…

Best Shakespeare Blogs 2019

Thank you all for some wonderful Shakespeare Blogs. This has indeed been a feast. Please check out some of the wonderful contributions listed below Shakespeare in a Rainbow! Best Summative Entry- with a focus on why Shakespeare continues to be important in our own time: https://georgiahoulihan.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/summative-entry-shakespeare-and-renaissance-literature/ Thank you Georgia! Honest Summative Entry reflecting on the…

The Importance of Being E(a)rnest- and Oscar Wilde as a driving force in the Fin de Siécle….

This week we explored the world of Oscar Wilde, especially his trenchant, satiric, criticism of the Victorian Age. We had the great good fortune to watch David Suchet play the role of Lady Bracknell in this play. He transforms Lady Bracknell into the grotesque image of the upper middle class that Oscar Wilde was so…

Week 10: Shakespeare- The Merchant of Venice.

This week we started exploring the world of Shakespeare’s mid career play The Merchant of Venice. We also looked at episodes from the Globe Theatre’s amazing recent production: Here is the link for the play: https://globeplayer.tv/videos/the-merchant-of-venice-english and here is the audio for our lecture in Week 10. Slides for this lecture you will find in LEO!  

Some fabulous Blogs coming out of The Clemente Mount Druitt class! Please comment on their blogs!

Hi All, I am just working my way through the blogs produced by our Mount Druitt, Clemente contingent. Many of these students are coming to study for the first time, or are returning to study from many years ago. They will love any comments you will give them, and there are some fabulous entries there.…

Tolstoy!

Please find the slides for this week posted into Leo Module 9. Here is the audio for this week. This contains vital information for your final assessment!   BLOG TOPICS for WEEK 9: CREATIVE 1. Write a short paragraph describing a family conversation in which it is clear that all parties in the conversation are…

Matthew Arnold’s Scholar Gypsy and the Victorian Context…

Today we explored the wider context of educational ideas in the Victorian era, focussing on John Stuart Mill, Cardinal Newman, Charles Dickens and finally Matthew Arnold. His poem about the student who absconded from Oxford University to find a deeper truth to life’s questions still sits with us today as a powerfully relevant poem. The…

Hard Times Continued…..

We had great fun this morning exploring the way Thomas Gradgrind (Sir!) introduces himself in his own mind to the classroom full of little pitchers. Here he accosts Sissy Jupe for her lack of factual knowledge about horses and praises wonderful Bitzer for his “bitzy” factual knowledge of a horse. Thank you Angelina and Steph…

Shakespeare’s The Tempest 1

Today we broached Shakespeare’s last great masterpiece The Tempest, the play which presents some of his greatest poetry within a story that can stand as a model for humanity’s quest for harmony within a world of chaos. We watched the opening act of the play in The London Globe Theatre’s latest performance. The link for this performance is…

Nineteenth Century Literature- the Context of the Visual Arts: Enlightenment… Romanticism… Victorianism….

Art Gallery Quiz Questionnaire2019 HI All, we had an amazing experience this Wednesday, exploring the art of the Enlightenment, followed by the art of Romanticism (both in Europe and Australia) and then the art of the Victorian Era. These paintings depict many of the social and historical contexts and obsessions of the late 18th and 19th…

The Shakespeare Room and Shakespeare Resources in the Mitchell Library + Renaissance Art for Shakespeare Plus Students at ACU in 2019

Shakespearean Art in the NSW Gallery 2019 Thank you ALL for your outstanding attendance today- just about 100% – that is a record!!! The State Library with its wonderful Shakespeare statue outside (in one-time Shakespeare Place”) was a delight to be involved with- despite the life-endangering freeway that one has to cross to get there!!!!.…

Australian Art for Clemente Australian Literature Students

Hi All, we have had a wonderful experience this Monday exploring the ways in which Australian art, like Australian literature, tell the story about the Australian experience, OUR experience. We explored paintings from the earliest days of colonisation through to modern times. These paintings included works by Indigenous Aboriginal, Swiss, German, Italian and even some…

Wordsworth, The Romantics and Withering Frights!

I enjoyed very much this morning talking to you about one of my alltime favourite poems “Resolution and Independence” in which William Wordsworth celebrates the way his experience of life was profoundly challenged by meeting with a really old Leech Gatherer. This man had the “Resolution and Independence” which Wordsworth himself felt lacking in his…

Ben Jonson’s Shakespeare and More About Midsummer!

We had a wonderfully dramatic day today with hours spent on Ben Jonson’s extraordinary poem in praise of his rival William Shakespeare, followed by much hilarity watching Egeus challenging Theseus to help him tame his recalcitrant daughter into marrying the man she DOES NOT LURVE!! We then finished with a beautiful poetic rendering of the…

Australian Literature: Late Colonial- Early Federation: Gilmore, Lawson, O’Dowd etc….

So this is the period when Australian Literature and Art began to celebrate its independence from the tyranny of England: notice the fireworks over Sydney Town Hall on Federation day!!! But This was really not good enough for die-hard republicans like Henry Lawson and Mary Gilmore who saw the continuing injustices in Australia society- which…

Some Gems from the first crop of blogs

  Here is a beautiful description of a / Coleridgean apprecation of nature in the Australian context: https://anthonydigges.home.blog/ – Thank you Anthony! Here is a companion piece to Anthony’s: https://julieisajunkie.home.blog/   Thank you Julie for sharing your passion for the stillness of the Australian bush! Here is a wonderful account of a Wordsworthian moment in Nepal:…

Nineteenth Century Romantics Week 3!

Today we explored William Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads. This is an amazingly revolutionary document in the context of its time, daring to acknowledge the worth of ordinary human being and daring to say that the language of the uneducated contains more essential truth than the language of most academics. Powerful stuff! And his friend Coleridge…