Highlights from first cull of Twentieth Century Literature Blogs!

What a totally amazing collection of Blogs from students studying 20th Century Literature at ACU. There is such depth and variety in this swag of great entries. Congratulations to all of you – and to those who didn’t quite make this list. This is just to give you an idea of the riches I have…

Virginia Woolf & Katherine Mansfield

Today we explored the ways in which these two early 20th Century authors used their creative gifts to delve deep into their own consciousness into that of their characters. The two daughters in “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” suddenly find themselves freed from the patriarchal and imperialist shackles of their father and yet are unable…

Highlights from the first trawl through William Blake and the Visionary Imagination.

ACU Students in this unit have produced some awesome entries inspired by their reading of William Blake. Enjoy some of these wonderfully creative expositions of Blake’s continuing relevance to our own times: Johanna Powers description of Blake’s human qualities: https://johannapower.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/week-4-blog-post/ Caitlyn Tuckerman on Job’s Nightmares https://caitlyntuckerman.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/jobs-nightmare/#comments Jesse Ocsan– tales of Experience: the ambulance man. https://ocsanj.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/week-3-tale-of-experience/…

T.S.Eliot, literary modernism and the quest for meaning.

On Friday this week we had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Professor Barry Spurr (recently retired from his Chair of Poetry and Poetics at Sydney University) who came to enlighten us about “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Waste Land”. Professor Spurr’s lecture was astonishingly rich in its detailed contextualisation of…

Manifesto & Modernism

  The creator of the Video art work Manifesto Julian Rosefeldt was asked (in the last essay in the book Manifesto): … are these old manifestos relevant today? He answered: Absolutely. And not just relevant, but also visionary… We’re well advised, therefore to read artist manifestos as seismographs of their age. (seismograph= an instrument that measures and records details…

Poetry of the First World War

Today we broached the world of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas 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,…

The Early Twentieth Century

Blog Topics for Week 3 – Based on Weeks One and Two The Early Twentieth Century- Gerard Manley Hopkins & Joseph Conrad Chose any one topic for this week. Be creative, concise and edit your work carefully! Enjoy 1/ Take the first line of any one of Hopkins’ poems and write your own poem celebrating…

Top 19th Century Lit ePortfolios ACU 2016

There were some truly outstanding ePortfolios in this group of ACU students celebrating their experience and insight into the work of Romantic poets and the fiction of Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Tolstoy among others. The focus questions underpinning these ePortfolios were Writers and artists in the 19th Century were preoccupied with trying to solve the…

Best Shakespeare Plus 2016 ePortfolios

There have been some fantastic ePortfolios from students completing their Shakespeare Unit this semester. Plays covered included Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear and The Tempest along with the bard’s sonnets and miscellaneous poetry from around Shakespeare’s time. Students had to consider the ways in which Shakespeare’s art still speaks to our experience in the…

Shakespeare Performances 2016

What a wonderful collection of performances from the Shakespeare group today: scenes from Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear and The Tempest. What a treat! So well done, with little time for rehearsal and yet so much learned about what it needs to bring Shakespeare to life on the stage. I am sure that you all see…

Tolstoy’s Short Fiction

What a wonderful treat we have had to finish off our Nineteenth Century Literature with these two masterworks, “The Death of Ivan Illych” and “Master and Man”. Both stories present with such wonderful insight the ways in which humans delude themselves into believing in the self they carry around with them all day. Ivan Illych…

Twentieth Century Oz Lit Poetry and Prose Part 2

This week we finished our exploration of Patrick White’s amazing depiction of contemporary Australian society: its emptiness, but also its powerful potential for renewal in “Down at the Dump” and “Miss Slattery’s Demon Lover”- both in The Burnt Ones (1964). As a prelude to David Malouf‘s visit to us in a fortnight we explored “The Year of the Foxes”,…

The Tempest Part 2

  Shakespeare’s The Tempest is a play about many things; in one way it is as the large as The Globe itself! However, at its heart it is concerned with the power of art, of drama, of poetry, of music as transformative agents in a crazy, greedy world full of conflict and opposition. If Shakespeare’s message could…

George Eliot and Leo Tolstoy

Two nineteenth century masters of creative prose, both these amazing authors focussed on the inner lives of their characters and tried to show what it takes to become more fully human. Their interest was psychological and spiritual. They sought to document what it is that closes the soul up and inhibits the growth of the…

George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning & Matthew Arnold:Responses to the Condition of England.

All art, at its heart tries to rectify the destructive conditions of existence on this planet. In the words of the Australian poet A.D. Hope:  Arguably, the writers and artists of the 19th Century were all, in their own way, attempting to maintain “the frame and order of the world”, trying to resolve the huge…

Australian Poetry and Prose in the Early 20th Century

We had fun today exploring a range of authors: John Shaw Neilson, Miles Franklin, Frederic Manning, M.Barnard Eldershaw, Judith Wright, Rosemary Dobson, Francis Webb and Gwen Harwood. What an amazing cross-section of talent! The one strongest idea that came to me during the lecture was a question that arose after we pondered the meaning of A.D.Hope’s…

King Lear & Cordelia

How can we understand Cordelia’s confrontation with her father King Lear? In the Edwin Sherin directed version with James Earl Jones as Lear,  staged in Central Park New York, King Lear’s violence seems to provoke a response in Cordelia which is a mirror of her father. Like father like daughter? Is there any grace in this Cordelia,…

Education of the inner self: Dickens, Mill, Arnold, Newman

The Nineteenth Century was as “distracted from distraction by distraction“as we all are in the early years of the Twenty First Century. The messages sent to us by the “poets” of the inner-self in Victorian England (Dickens, Arnold, Newman … and others) are as relevant to us now as they were then. Matthew Arnold had…

Mid 19th Century Australian Poetry

What a wonderful contrast is made by Charles Harpur’s “A Mid-Summer Noon in the Australian Forest” (1851) and Henry Kendall’s “Bell-Birds” (1869). Kendall as a protegé of Harpur invested his picture of the Australian forest – “Bell Birds“- with meaning and magic, but his purpose was entirely opposite to that of his master (Harpur). This…

Shakespeare/ Victorianism & Charles Dickens – Week 6

Thomas Carlyle the great Victorian historian, close friend of Charles Dickens wrote these wonderful words which have been carved in stone in the foyer to the Mitchell ( State Library) in Sydney. This is where many of us visited the Shakespeare Room this week. But for those of studying Charles Dickens and Victorianism, these words…

Oscar Wilde and Victorianism

It has been so good to look back at all the features of Victorianism from the end of the century perspective provided by Oscar Wilde! I wonder how the Wilde of 2090 will review the shenanigans of the first decades of the 21st century? An interesting speculation! At all events, with Wilde’s hindsight one can…

Romeo & Juliet- Bell Shakespeare

This would have to be one of the liveliest, most powerful productions of Romeo and Juliet! Congratulations to the director, Peter Evans and the whole cast who brought the inner significance of this play so vividly, so entertainingly alive. In his pre-performance interview Peter Evans had spoken about the vitality of Juliet as a character. And Kelly…

End of Week 3: The Importance of Being Earnest: A Backward Glance at the Nineteenth Century.

What a buzz for us all to see The Importance of Being Earnest performed by an utterly world-class production by the National Theatre of London. David Suchet as Lady Bracknell would have to be one of the most GROTESQUE stage presences we have seen in a long time And this hard angular, masculine, pompous, utterly self-important…

Week 2 Summer/Autumn Semester

Another fabulous week of literature and life! I thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring Kim Scott’s That Dead Man Dance with Oz Lit students today. This is an amazing work that really brings to life an indigenous experience of life in relation to landscape and everything in it. It does this so powerfully through the sharp contrast…