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 Whiteley) to third years: a feast!
In all these units there is room for joy as well as the opportunity for reflection on its opposite, woe. The human race seems capable of creating the conditions for both experiences- joy and woe, and it was the English Romantic poet William Blake who expressed so well that it is part of the human journey to acknowledge that we need to taste and know both sides of our human condition:
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine,
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so,
We were made for joy and woe,
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.
This is from William Blake’s poem “Auguries of Innocence”. Another way of expressing this deep truth in a more down-to-earth way is “Every stick has two ends”.
We are definitely going to meet this truth in all the literature that we will be studying in the weeks to come, whether it is in Kim Scott’s That Dead Man Dance or Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front or in Patrick White’s Riders in the Chariot. It will be interesting to hear your take on this idea and your sense of how it might apply to your own life and experience.
See you all in class very soon!
Here is another shot of the wind-blown boronia ledifolia at the bottom of my garden ! 🙂