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

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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 on your own experience of the issues that Blake seems to be addressing.

CRITICAL: What is it that prevents the human from being divine? Answer this question with reference to the two poems explored in today’s tutorial.

CRITICAL: Who was Kathleen Raine? What can you learn about the reasons for her infatuation with Blake’s art and ideas?


Later Colonial Australian Literature – around the 1890s!

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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 language and art began to come into its own. The years leading up to federation were years in which Australians were increasingly proud of their national identity and their relative freedom from European and British ways of looking at the world.

Audio lectures and tuts will be posted up here soon…

The tutorials explored the differences in subject matter, theme, purpose and language in the work of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. We also explored Dame Mary Gilmore’s feminism in “Eve Song”- enjoy!




So today we looked at Ada Cambridge, Barbara Baynton, Dame Mary Gilmore, Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson and on and on…. what an extraordinary cast of voices from this period that celebrated Australian independence from England both thematically and linguistically… the opening sentences of “The Drover’s Wife” show beautifully how Lawson has transitioned the language and themes from early colonialism to something more authentically “Strine”:

Nothing to relieve the eye save the darker green of a few sheoaks which are sighing above the narrow, almost waterless creek…. Four ragged, dried-up-looking children are playing about the house…..

So this is an extraordinarily exciting and new moment in Australian literature, both for the range of its radical themes and for the innovations and language and imagery that were appearing- in literature AND in art:


How dare an artist (here Tom Roberts) put a sagging tent and two oddly positioned men, having a billy of tea, into the middle of a “Work of Art”- what license! what proposterousness!!!!


We also looked at the following:

Ada Cambridge with her wonderfully strident defiance of being a simpering woman subject to male domination. Defying all stereotypes she speaks to her lover: “I may some day love a better man…. And then we must be free to kiss and part” (164). No wonder she was seen as rebellious in her day!

Then we looked at the Über-rebellious Irish Ned Kelly who certainly could string words together when he wanted to make a point about those for whom he had a particular hate (those representatives of the British legal system): “the big ugly fat-necked wombat headed big bellied magpie legged narrow hipped splaw-footed sons of Irish Bailiffs or english landlords which is better known as Officers of Justice or Victorian Police…” (224) and much more!

Then there was Dame Mary Gilmoreone of the few in this period who had a passionate regard for our Indigenous people and a real sense of what we as a community have lost by not taking care of them. Her poem “Australia” is a magnificent tribute to the ancient value of this people (predating all the most ancient civilizations) and containing within their culture the seeds of the beginning of language and poetry:

There was great beauty in the names her people called her,

Shaping to patterns of sound the form of their words;

They wove to measure of speech the cry of the bird,

And the voices that rose from the reeds of the cowal*.

(*Aboriginal word for small, tree-grown swampy depression)


So in their traditions and culture they transformed and transmitted the beautiful voices of nature into song, into language.

Blog topics for this week:


CREATIVE Write a paragraph of prose in the style of Henry Lawson.

CREATIVE Write a stanza of a poem in the style of Banjo Paterson.

CRITICAL Critically compare Dame Mary Gilmore’s poem “Australia” with Bernard O’Dowd’s poem of the same name.

CRITICAL What does A.D. Hope’s poem Australia (written half a century after the 1890s) add to the debate on what is Australia?

CREATIVE “And then we must be free to kiss and part”. Write a short letter or poem that proclaims the kind of personal freedom that Ada Cambridge proposes in this line.

CRITICAL Write a brief description of this painting of Ned Kelly. What do you think it is saying about Ned Kelly’s status in the 20th CenturySaint Ned

CRITICAL Write a short tribute to Dame Mary Gilmore drawing on any one of her poems (in the Pen Anthology 256-259) to show how important her ideas are to Australians.

CRITICAL Find out who the figure behind Dame Mary Gilmore is on the $10 note. What is the artistic significance of this other figure?

CRITICAL Henry Lawson or Banjo Paterson? Explain briefly your understanding of why these two authors were so different in their views of the Australian experience.

AND AS ALWAYS: Chose or find a topic of your very own that relates in some way to the themes of this week. Draw on your own experience if you wish. For instance: what is your experience of being a woman compared to Gilmore’s “Eve Song”?

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 of how Blake provides so many deep and powerful answers to the way we can relate to the difficulties that we all face as human beings:

The lecture rolled on through an annoted commentary on the film “Singing for England”. Listen to it all right here:

We followed this lecture with tutorials on the Introductions to The Songs of Innocence and The Songs of Experience– fabulous content from all the students… hope it can be heard!!!!

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 these images which I will be expanding with a lecture on Monday: enjoy!

Colonial Literature Week 3 2019

Here is the audio version of this lecture:


And here are the audios for each of the 3 tutorials (find white board images below). Each tutorial was slightly different. I recommend especially listening to the third in the row.

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Blog Topics for your first blog. 

Please choose any of these topics or create your own:

CRITICAL– Write a short paragraph on why you think the Garma Festival is so important to indigenous culture today.

CREATIVE– For Judith Wright the Mountain has its own meaning. Describe a favourite place that has a real meaning for you that you would hate to see destroyed.

CRITICAL– Choose any one of the authors that you have heard about in the first weeks of the unit and create a mini-digital kit made up of a short (interesting) biography and a list of useful, annotated, web links.

CREATIVE- Who is an Australian? Describe your own  national and cultural background and explain why it is definitely part of what makes up our Australian nation.

CRITICAL- Which poem or story that we have looked at so far made an impression on you? What was the impression it made? Why did it touch your feelings and imagination?

CREATIVE– Which poem or story that we have looked at so far made an impression on you? What was the impression it made?  Can you imitate the poem or story and create your own poem or story drawing on your own personal experience.

CRITICAL- Discuss what you think are the key differences and benefits of poetry that is “transparent” versus poetry that is “opaque”

CREATIVE- Create your own creative work drawing on any of the work we have been exploring and anchoring it in your own experience.

CRITICAL– Create your own critical exploration of any of the works or ideas that we have been exploring.

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. 

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We talked about the ways in which these ideas have been taken up by Allen Ginsberg, by the Rock Group The Doors and by Patti Smith.  You can find links to their work in the pdf at the end of this blog.

We looked today especially at the two Nurse’s Songs, one presenting the state of containment and inner quiet, the other the state of jealousy and internal disquiet. We then forged on and in one class began to explore “The Tyger” and discovered the ways in which this poem partly mirrors the dark and the light worlds of the two nurses. In the second class we segued into “The School Boy” which exposes so sharply how not allowing children the space to develop organically can lead to crippling consequences in old age.

Here are the audios for this week’s lecture and the tutorials. For audio links please see the pdf below…


BlakeLectureWeek1 copy

Blog Topics for Next Week- due Friday 16th August.


CRITICAL: Can you summarize your sense of what the core of Ginsberg’s vision of Blake is in his “Sunflower Sutra”?

CRITICAL: Briefly discuss your sense of the significance of Patti Smith’s “My Blakean Year”

CREATIVE: In a poem or short prose piece describe a situation where you have either seen or experienced a dramatic different in the state of a human being and its impact on the world around.

CREATIVE: Who was Patti Smith? Find out and tell about her- create some links to her best Blakean songs.

CREATIVE: Find out about The Doors what kind of impact did their Blakean music have on the era in which they wrote.

REMEMBER: You are always permitted to create your own topic based on something that is presented in class or on something that what we have spoken of in class has triggered either in your own experience or your own memory.


Writing By and About Indigenous Australians.

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Hi All,

this is the territory we will be travelling through next week. Please look through this file but be sure also to bring “The Mountain’s Own Meaning” with you next week to tutorials too….

The Mountain Has its Own Meaning


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Judith Wright’s Two Dreamtimes: N

Two Dreamtimes 1Two Dreamtimes 2Two Dreamtimes 3

Please find audio recordings for today’s lecture and two tutorials here:

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”.  You can watch and listen to Ginsberg singing one of Blake’s songs right here. 

Here now are the audio recordings for this morning’s lecture and the tutorials that followed. You can also look through the slide I used this morning in the pdf link below: Enjoy!

BlakeLectureWeek1 pdf

Please read this before your first class:

Ginsberg Week1


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 the group as a whole. Thank you all for your keen participation in classes this week. Below you will find the audios of lectures and tutorials. At the bottom of this blog you will find the PDF of the keynote slides used for this lecture. Enjoy!

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While these images powerfully show the differences in attitude between the rulers in American and England, it seems that in contemporary times a different link is being forged:


Lecture 1

Tutorial 2

WordPress.com advice

Tutorial 3

White Board Shots:


Lecture 1: PDF

American Literature Wk1 copy


First Blog Topics for American Literature 

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Try out any of these topics for your first blog. Remember that you are also permitted to create your own blog topics if none of these topics fit your interest!

CREATIVE Invent some lines of dialogue that might be occurring between Donald Trump and Boris Johnson in the illustration above.

CRITICAL From what you know about the USA has any thing surprised you in the literature that has been introduced to you so far in this unit. 

CRITICAL/ CREATIVE  What do you understand by Thoreau’s intention to live “deliberately”? Can you possibly explain this basing it in your own experience of your life right now? 

CRITICAL / CREATIVEChose a phrase or a sentence from Emerson’s essay “Nature” that really struck you as being accurate to your own experience of nature. Write a paragraph that captures an experience of nature of your own that supports what you understand to be Emerson’s vision of nature. 

 CRITICAL In your own words describe the key differences between the portraits of George Washington and George III illustrated earlier in this blog. 

Create your own CRITICAL OR CREATIVE  Blog topic based on any of the material that you have heard presented in the opening weeks of the unit. Don’t be afraid to share aspects of your own life that might shed light on the reading you have been doing for this unit.

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:

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Drysdale, like Judith Wright seems to honour the dignity of this rock: it has a place, a purpose, a meaning. Drysdale uses earthy, indigenous colours to make his point.  We had an interesting discussion about this poem in the lecture and you can hear the whole lecture right here.

The tutorial that followed focussed chiefly on Marcus Clarke’s paragraph from his essay on Adam Lindsay Gordon in which he describes the shifts in attitude in Australia to the landscape over the first hundred years of occupation. He then also predicts where these attitudes will lead in the future.

Here is the passage:

Marcus Clarke was first to prophesy a changing attitude to the Australian landscape in his preface to Adam Lindsay Gordon’s book, “Poems.”
In Australia alone is to be found the Grotesque, the Weird, the strange scribblings of Nature learning how to write. Some see no beauty in our trees without shade, our flowers without perfume, our birds who cannot fly, and our beasts who have not yet learned to walk on all fours. But the dweller in the wilderness acknowledges the subtle charm of this fantastic land of monstrosities. He becomes familiar with the beauty of loneliness. Whispered to by the myriad tongues of the wilderness, he learns the language of the barren and the uncouth, and can read the hieroglyphics of haggard gum-trees, blown into odd shapes, distorted with fierce hot winds, or cramped with cold nights, when the Southern Cross freezes in a cloudless sky of icy blue. The phantasmagoria of that wild dreamland termed the Bush interprets itself, and the Poet of our desolation begins to comprehend why free Esau loved his heritage of desert sand better than all the bountiful richness of Egypt.

(Clarke, Marcus. “Preface.” Poems, by Adam Gordon Lindsay, Melbourne: A. H. Massinna, 1893. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/258/258-h/258-h.htm.)


Listen to our discussion on this right here.

And here are the white board images from two of our tutorials today: IMG_1618.jpg



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 spring? and in just over one month it will indeed be officially be spring.

So welcome one and all to another wonderful semester of English and American Literature in these cool, sunny climes! I look forward to meeting you all and sharing the delights of literature over the next 12 weeks. In Oz Lit and in Am. Lit we have Jess Brooks helping in the teaching and the marking. You will all love her up to date take on the literature we are studying: welcome Jess!

This morning I walked steeply from Berowra Waters up this wonderful bush path, swathed in heavy mist up towards Cowan. At the top this wonderful vista appeared- with a view from above of the heavy mist that we trudged through. This is a real promise of things to come:


American Literature 2019

Hello All,

We will be starting our exploration of American Lit next week and this is where I will be posting my key thoughts about the reading I am doing on the subject. So please stay tuned. I hope all of you will buy the text (The Norton Shorter Anthology of American Literature 9th Edition: you will need this).  The publisher has sent through this important message:

The required resource is available in multiple formats and options:

In the meantime, before your text arrives, please read the attached pdf. Make the contents of this part of the framework of your thinking for this unit.


Norton American Lit Introductions.

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!

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Best Summative Entry- with a focus on why Shakespeare continues to be important in our own time:


Thank you Georgia!

Honest Summative Entry reflecting on the impossibility of knowing what it is to be human:


Then there are a group of fabulous entries inspired by specific sonnets:

Best Blog reflecting on Sonnet 146: https://charlottealphonso.wordpress.com/category/shakespeare-renaissance-literature/engl210-best-blog/

Best Blog reflection on Sonnet 18- “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”:


Thank you Brendon.

Laura’s tribute to her grandfather, building on Shakespeare’s sonnet 18:


Georgia on Sonnet 146


Two of the best love/lurve poems. Thank you Lili



Fabulous summative entries


Thank you Lili (again)

Here is a great comic poem based on Marlow’s Shepherd:


Here is a fabulous exposition of Shakespeare’s vision of a controlling father. Thank you Greg: https://gregcoustasblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/the-wrath-of-egeus-third-blog-entry/

It is really worth reading this next to Aylin’s entry on learning how to confront a dominant male through reading Shakespeare:


Then there are bunch of really fabulous Summative Entries. See Harry’s:






And last, but certainly not least, Jacob’s https://jacobhall1246063530.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/studying-the-literature-and-culture-of-the-renaissance-has-amplified-my-understanding-of-what-it-is-to-be-human/comment-page-1/#comment-96

Enjoy! Thank you all for your intelligent and joyful work during this last semester.




Best Blogs for Nineteenth Century Literature 2019

There have been some truly wonderful blogs from our 19th Century Literature Group this semester. Thank you all, it has been a feast! I would like to publish everyone here because everyone has made such a great effort, but it makes more sense to select a few that carry the flavour of the whole. Thank you- and Celebration- for all!!!!

The links below will take you to the comments on the blogs; just scroll back to the start of each blog to capture the flavour of what has been said. Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 2.10.29 am

Here is the best summative entry on meditative aspects of 19th Century Literature. Thank you Serena:


Here is the best poem from the group. Thank you Nicola


Read here about Lauren’s wonderful decision not to follow the Romantics into the bush. Thank you Lauren for your insight and wisdom!


Here is a great summary of why  blogging can be and is such a valuable tool in the studying of literature:


Thank you so much Sandy.

Here is one of our many American students keen to share her experiences of being in Australia. Thank you Kaitlyn:


And here are some of the overall, very best and thought provokin summative entries from the group. Thank you Nicola, Izabela, Veronica and Hamish:









Clemente Mount Druitt- Grand Finalé

Thank you Heather, for creating this fabulous short “video” of our time together!!

Our final day with Clemente students at Mount Druitt took us through a tour of the wonderful blogs these students have been producing as well as their presentation of scenes from Louis Nowra’s play The Golden Age. It was a very special day for us all, filled with beautiful memories of our intensive time together over twelve weeks. We all got to know each other, our quirks, passions and enthusiasms. Thank you to all for today’s efforts: to Adi for his wonderful quick ability to play the part of Mac, to Trent to his fearless requests for coffee!, to Alana for her amazing male get up (despite her broken hand), to Laura for her polished performance as a young man, to Honeylene, Vivian and Lourdes who brought so much of their wonderful home culture into this curious Australian play, to Julie who played such an intoxicating Bathsheb, to Geoff who held the domineering male part of the play together- and to John without whose august presence our classes would not have had the historical context they had, to sisters Jennifer and Heather who gave so much of their enthusiasm, their fears and their hopes and who performed so graciously today, to Malia for her dedicated support for our relationship to the parish, to Heather for holding the whole thing together with all her props, morning teas and timely presence every week, to our wonderful learning partners: Suzanne (bringer of coffee and lover of egg sandwiches), Judith who supported students so well in their careful work, Jeff who brought his eagle academic eye to some of the essays and last but not least to Joseph who brought each week his group of handicapped students to take part in the joys of our weekly feast…. and how’s that for a very short sentence!!!!! Thank you all- I loved being part of your lives for this short period: hope to see you all again some time soon.

Good wishes


Here you can listen to it all happening

And here you can look at the star studded blogs and the backdrops used for The Golden Age- in performance…

Clemente 2018 Finale Mt Druitt


And if you want to follow any of these bloggers in their present and continuing work, then please click on their work, comment and sign up:

Jenny (Jennifer) Bird  https://nannieseven.home.blog/

Vivian Bazanez-Bell https://vivbasbell.home.blog/

Alana Broomham https://alanakb.home.blog

Geoffrey Graham https://goldensparrow.home.blog

Laura Green https://auroralaurasblog.wordpress.com/

Julie Hawkins https://julieisajunkie.home.blog

Heather Broomham https://broomy69.home.blog

Honeylene Matin-ao  https://honeylene7.home.blog/

Lourdes Murphy https://ondette02.home.blog/

Rita (Marguerite) Tobin   https://ritalearns.home.blog

Malia https://miareflects.home.blog/

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

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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 intolerant of.

Please find here the audio for the lecture for Week 10 and link this to the slides that are posted into LEO- enjoy!

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Week 10: Shakespeare- The Merchant of Venice.

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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:


and here is the audio for our lecture in Week 10. Slides for this lecture you will find in LEO!

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Clemente Mt Druitt- Week 10

Wonderful Blogs + first rehearsal of The Golden Age-  this was a day to be remembered! So many creative entries in response to what we are exploring in Australian Literature, then the real challenge of trying to find a way of presenting Louis Nowra’s extraordinary use of dramatic language in bringing to life this group of Tasmanian “outcasts”. Here is the program for week 10 together with a few grammatical pointers:


And here is the audio recording of our time together on Monday!

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.

Take a look for example at this amazing poem by Julie: https://julieisajunkie.home.blog/2019/04/14/unastrayan/

And take a look at the rest of the crew here ( for some of them English is their second or third language)- Enjoy – and comment!:

Jenny (Jennifer) Bird  https://nannieseven.home.blog/

Vivian Bazanez-Bell https://vivbasbell.home.blog/

Alana Broomham https://alanakb.home.blog

Geoffrey Graham https://goldensparrow.home.blog

Laura Green https://auroralaurasblog.wordpress.com/

Julie Hawkins https://julieisajunkie.home.blog

Heather Broomham https://broomy69.home.blog

Honeylene Matin-ao  https://honeylene7.home.blog/

Lourdes Murphy https://ondette02.home.blog/

Rita (Marguerite) Tobin   https://ritalearns.home.blog


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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!




1. Write a short paragraph describing a family conversation in which it is clear that all parties in the conversation are talking at cross-purposes without listening to each other.

2. Write a letter from Ivan Illych to Gerasim telling him how and why he has valued his attentions so much during the last days of his life.

3. Describe Tolstoy in intimate detail as he appears on the front cover of our text or in any of the images of him you have seen. Describe his clothes, his environment, the way he is holding his hands and especially the look on his face… and maybe one or two of his thoughts!


3. Create a digital resource kit for some of the very best material available on Tolstoy on the net. Present it in such way that your reader/viewer has real confidence in your choices.

4. Why did Tolstoy lose faith with his own class and identify himself with the Russian peasants? Write a succinct short paragraph that explains this curious turn of events in his life.

5. Research the criticism on the recent film that was made of Tolstoy’s life. Do the critics agree on the kind of insight this film gave into his life?

The Tempest – Take 3: Musick and Masques

Hi All, today we covered the core ideas of music (Musick!) and the Masque in The Tempest.  These are the central clue to the deepest meaning of this play. In particular we explored the way that Ariel (pictured on the right) manages to persuade Prospero (on the left) to bring more empathy into his relationship to other human beings. There is that iconic line from Prospero which indicates his “conversion” in which he praises “virtue” instead of “vengeance”. This idea is in fact repeated a few times in the play. Here are the slides from yesterday’s lecture

The Tempest Week 9Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 2.53.35 pm

And here is the audio! Enjoy

Find blog topics from the slides and also from the list below:

  • Explain what you think is the meaning of “The rarer action is/ In virtue than in vengeance”.
  • In the voice of Ariel tell the audience what you think of Prospero.
  •  In the voice of Miranda tell the audience what you think of Ferdinand.
  •  In the voice Ferdinand tell the audience what you think of Miranda.
  •  In the voice of Gonzalo tell the audience what you think about the outcome of the events of the play.
  •  Imagine yourself on a remote island on which you have never seen anyone else than your father and one or two of his strange helpers. Describe how you will react when you suddenly see a group of young people coming to greet you out of nowhere. Miranda says
    • O wonder!
    • How many goodly creatures are there here!
    • How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
    • That has such people in’t!
    • What words would you use?
    • globe2

Clemente Week 9: Patrick White, Francis Webb, Louis Nowra….

This week we spent some time introducing Louis Nowra’s play The Golden Age which will be our performance piece over the next 3 weeks! What fun!

Please read as much of the text as you can before we start rehearsals next week…. IMG_0587

We also looked in at Patrick White, Australia’s only Nobel Prize winning novelist & also Francis Webb, Australia’s greatest Catholic poet. See the following slides for what we covered and listen to the attached audio for our discussions (this will load in a few hours!)

Clemente Work Book Section 3 2019

Blog topic for this week can be found in the pages mentioned in the white-board shot above. But please remember you are completely at liberty to create your own topics based around anything that especially interested you in Monday’s class.

Enjoy the process!

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 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 his “Scholar Gypsy” escape form a world where everything was regulated by a system of preferal: prefer me! no me! no me! I am the best! Arnold’s scholar fed up with all this turns his attention to deeper, more rewarding matters that enable him to connect his soul with eternal values that defy the passing of time.



John Stuart Mill, in his Autobiography, laments the hard facts education that he received as a child and discovers, almost by accident, the wonderful refreshment and opening of the heart and soul that Wordsworth’s poetry provided him with.



Dickens, in and through Sissy Jupe, has a similar message. Because Sissy’s mind has not been cluttered by the educational philosophy of accumulating more and more knowledge, she is relatively free inside. She has a heart. She can see what is good and what is not good. She can protect Louisa Gradgrind from the bad heart of James Hearthouse.  She can bring feeling and inner life to the Gradgrind family which up until this point has been regulated by mechanics! So in some ways Sissy Jupe stands head and shoulders above all the men in her world!


John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote The Idea of a University when he was part of group setting up a new University. He was concerned to ensure that the purpose of education at this University would not be totally swamped by the Utilitarianism of his day. Newman had a strong sense that true education was for the inner man or woman. It had to do not with the outer demands of life, but with the strength of the soul.


So all these authors – while quite different in their language- were on the same wave-length, they all spoke of the importance of the inner life, and they were deeply aware of those aspects of civilization that were threatening this important part of being human.

Blog Topics for Week 8 (Nineteenth Century Lit):

1/ In what ways do you think the messages of any one of these authors is still relevant today.

2/ Compose a poem that describes the life of someone living in the 21st Century that contains the lines “distracted for distraction by distraction”.

3/ Write a brief dialogue between any two of the authors mentioned above. Their topic is: the problems besetting individuals in our times.

4/ Write a letter to any of the above mentioned authors expressing to them your sense of the importance of their message.

5/ Create your own topic. Build into it some reflections on the kind of education you received as a child.


Tempest Take 2! Shakespeare Plus

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Today we surfed through some more of that amazing, wonderful production of The Tempest by the Globe Theatre. What a miracle of dramatic recreation that performance is. Highly recommended.

Here is the content for today’s session.

There will be no new blog topics this week as you are beginning to prepare for your major essay.

Enjoy your Easter Break!

Here also is a useful quick MLA guide for those who need it: MLA Quick Reference Guide from ACU Study Guide (1)

Clemente Mount Druitt- Week 8: Lawson revisited

Dear All,

we had a very useful day yesterday brainstorming all the requirements for your up-coming essay. And thank you to our learning partners for being there to amplify all the input. Here is the audio and the various links to the materials presented in class:

You will find that the audio also covers some more additional input on our amazing author Henry Lawson.

There are no blog topics this week. It is time to begin working towards your essay. The full version of your topic, together with a few helpful bits and pieces is presented below.

Essay Topic:

Chose any one of the authors we have looked at so far this semester. Choose any one of their works that we have looked at (poem or prose piece). Describe in as much critical detail as you can what you think the “work” is saying and explain in as much critical detail as you can what makes the “work” a piece of literature.

Is it powerful? beautiful? thought provoking? inspirational? challenging? original? innovative? You don’t have to address each of these possible qualities. These are just some ideas to set your thoughts moving.

When you are 2/3 of the way through your word length, then spend the remaining 1/3 of your work length writing a short creative piece that imitates the “work” you have been writing about critically.


You should be able to discuss the work in terms of its literary effectiveness: what is it in the language of the work you have chosen that makes it powerful? beautiful? thought provoking? inspirational? challenging? original? innovative? (as said you do not need to cover all these elements). You should also be able to discuss the work as part of the historical context in which the work was created. For all this you will need to do a little on-line research on the author’s life and historical context.

For all this, and with reference to the assessment criteria you should find at least one peer reviewed journal article (from the ACU Library on-line database) that discusses the author you have chosen in a way that is relevant to the work you have decided to explore.

The essay should contain an introduction that sets out your plan (150 words; a body that covers the elements above in 3 or for steps (at least one paragraph for each step) (450 words- 150 words/ paragraph); a conclusion that summarizes your findings(150 words). = total 750 words.

The remaining 250 words is to give you a creative opportunity to attempt to imitate the style of the author you have chosen. This can be one of the best ways to understand how an author uses language to create their work. You will be able to use this component of the assignment as one of your blogs.


MLA Quick Reference Guide from ACU Study Guide (1)

Hard Times Continued…..

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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 for gallantly stepping into those roles!!!!

Here is the audio of our exploration of this passage and of other relevant elements for our upcoming essay.

We then had a wonderful tutorial in which we explored what was fundamentally lacking in Louisa Gradgrind’s upbringing. Dickens is so powerfully poetic in his depictions here. Enjoy the discussions:


Blog Questions arising from Week 7:


So what questions can I cook up for your Blogs this week:

CREATIVE   Write a letter to Mr Gradgrind telling him what you think about the way he treated his own daughter, particularly with reference to the marriage arrangements he has created.

CRITICAL Take an passage from Hard Times (a paragraph long) and explain why and how this paragraph is important to the key themes of the novel.

CREATIVE You are Sissy Jupe. In a short paragraph tell Louisa what it has been like living in a circus for most of your life. Tell her what you have enjoyed and what your relationships have been like with other people in the circus.

CRITICAL Explore The Victorian Web: http://victorianweb.org/ and give a brief account of how valuable this site can be for a comprehensive study of all aspects of Charles Dickens’ work. Provide links to some of the most important things you found there.

CREATIVE Write a song, sung by Mr Thleary, about how he thinks people should lead their lives.

CRITICAL Explore the meaning of the catch phrase “The Condition of England”. Can you say how this phrase applies to the novel Hard Times.

CREATIVE/CRITICAL Create your own topic on any aspect of this week’s work drawing on both the literature studied and on your own personal experience.

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 right here: https://globeplayer.tv/videos/the-tempest-english. Enjoy!

Here is the content of today’s lecture in both Audio and Visual format:

Tempest 1

In tutorials we looked closely at Ariel’s descriptions to Prospero of how he set the tempest in train and how Shakespeare manages to endow his language with dramatic Razzamatazz. Here are some of the visual conclusions we came to:

And here is the audio of our discussions:

Blog Topics for this week: 

We looked especially today (in the tutorial) at how Shakespeare’s language (choice of words, phrases, rhythms, chiming sounds, punctuation) helps to bring his characters so vividly, texturally to life. Here for example is this amazing speech of Ariel’s who tells Prospero how he has managed to encircle the ship and bring its mariners to shore.:


Hast thou, spirit,
Perform’d to point the tempest that I bade thee?


To every article.
I boarded the king’s ship; now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement: sometime I’ld divide,
And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet and join. Jove’s lightnings, the precursors
O’ the dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary
And sight-outrunning were not; the fire and cracks
Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune
Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble,
Yea, his dread trident shake.


My brave spirit!
Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil
Would not infect his reason?


Not a soul
But felt a fever of the mad and play’d
Some tricks of desperation. All but mariners
Plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel,
Then all afire with me: the king’s son, Ferdinand,
With hair up-staring,–then like reeds, not hair,–
Was the first man that leap’d; cried, ‘Hell is empty
And all the devils are here.’

As the first Blog Topic for this week can you explain how Shakespeare seems to be able to make Ariel’s activities so physically, sensorially available to the reader and the audience? What is it about the word selection, the word placement, the punctuation, the rhythm, the allusions, that brings this text so amazingly, vividly to life?

2/ What are your first impressions of the The Tempest?

3/ In the role of any one of the characters you have met in the play so far, give a brief account of what it is like being who you are.

4/ Say whose side you are on in the contest between Prospero and Caliban as it appears at the end of Act 1 Sc 2.

5/ Remember you can always create your own topics

Clemente Mount Druitt- Week 7

This week we began with talking about your answers to the quiz and also spent time on going over some of the most common errors of expression.  We first read out some of the best responses to questions, especially those about your recent visit to the Art Gallery. There were some wonderful insights here and such expressions of joy at having taken the leap into discovering the links between literature and the visual arts.

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You can find all these comments in the attached word document. Please go into the links that are in this document and read in more detail about how some of your expression problems can be fixed: Quiz 1- ENGL102 2019

We also spent time exploring Bernard O’Dowd’s crazily complex poem “Australia” and explored the way in which the modern artist Martin Sharp had tried to capture some of O’Dowd’s ideas in his tapestry.

Read about the Tapestry and the artist here:


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Here are the discussions we had yesterday on all of this (together with some screen shots). At the bottom of this page you will find new blog topics for this week and your essay topics.

Click on the white board images to expand them…

Here are your blog topics for this week:


*Write your own short poem (it doesn’t have to be a sonnet) describing some aspects of where you think Australia is today.


*Describe in your own words what you see in the Martin Sharp tapestry of “Australia”.


*Building on Henry Lawson’s poem, write a few verses of what faces YOU see in the Street every day……

Essay Topics:

Chose any one of the authors we have looked at so far this semester. Choose any one of their works that we have looked at (poem or prose piece). Describe in as much critical detail as you can what you think the “work” is saying and explain in as much critical detail as you can what makes the “work” a piece of literature.

Is it powerful? beautiful? thought provoking? inspirational? challenging? original? innovative? You don’t have to address each of these possible qualities. These are just some ideas to set your thoughts moving.

When you are 2/3 of the way through your word length, then spend the remaining 1/3 of your work length writing a short creative piece that imitates the “work” you have been writing about critically.


Charles Dickens and the Victorian Age

My favourite lecture is exploring the similarities between the Victorian era and our own. There are in fact so many similarities given the amount of new technology that the Victorians had to deal with. But the questions that arise from this topic are huge: Is the world becoming a better place (as the Victorians predicted)? Is technology consuming the best part of our creative spirit (as Carlyle seemed to suggest)? Will we, with all our technologies,  be seen as ants caught in a trap of our own creation in years to come? Question follows question! Listen to the student responses right here. First we discussed the Victorian Age in general:


Then in tutorials we went on to explore the way in which Charles Dickens brings the ugliness of Victorian England into such sharp focus in Chapter 5 of his Hard Times: 



Blog Questions arising from lecture week 6: Victorianism & Dickens.


*Write a letter to Queen Victoria reminding her of her social responsibility to the poor and disadvantaged.


*Write a paragraph-long description of your suburb highlighting the mechanistic and inhumane aspects of the environment. Use Dickens’s description of Coketown as a template for your own description.


*Write a description of Coketown that takes Coketown to mean Coca-Cola rather than coking coal. Use Dickens’s description as a model.

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*Write a letter to your state parliamentarian telling him how your suburban environment is being effectively destroyed by eroding the natural landscape and putting high-rise apartments in the place of shrubs and trees.


*Find and out and write a report on the extent to which Dickens’s writing actually had a definite impact on the laws that regulated working conditions in England in the 19th Century.


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Shakespeare’s Poetry and Sonnets….

Despite the fire alarm and the emergency exodus we had a profitable day exploring Shakespeare’s dramatic theories as argued and exemplified in his amazing Prologue to Henry V in which he calls to the heavens for a “Muse of Fire”!

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Listen to the audio of this adventure below:

This was followed by a tutorial on one of Shakespeare’s last sonnets, No 146 “Poor Soul, centre of this sinful earth….. ”

A heated discussion-  in which Shakespeare challenges “Death” – followed. This is clearly one of Shakespeare’s most profound reflections on mortality and on the way we should lead our lives. Listen to the discussion here and view the image that was produced during our discussion.


Blog Topics Arising From Week 6;

*Write a prose or poetic answer to the Prologue to Henry V, in which you, as an actor tell the actor narrating the Prologue how you plan to respond in exactly the way he has asked you to do.

*Choose any one of the sonnets on the sonnet list in the slides from today’s lecture and work towards giving a clear and simple exposition of what you think the sonnet is saying.

*Take the first line of any one of the sonnets on the list and write your own sonnet using Shakespeare’s first line as your first line.

*Write a letter to Will Shakespeare telling him how much you appreciate his interests into human experience using any of the sonnets looked at today as a reference point.

*Basing your comments on our exploration of the Prologue to Henry V, write a blog on what you learned about Shakespeare’s message to the audience about how we should respond to his plays.


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 Centuries. Of particular interest is the way that the art of early Australia was such a powerful expression of the Romanticism that was sweeping England as well as Europe. Here in Australia (if you could close your eyes to the horrors of Convictism) there was an unspoilt world that had not been destroyed by industry in the way that Europe had.

Here are the audio tours in which you gave so many great insights into the works we discussed:

There is a  study sheet for you to download and print (from LEO) or from right here. I have also posted up here a number of the key works that we will be exploring. The questions in the study guide are designed to help you make sense of what you are looking at and to help you relate the paintings and art works to the preoccupations of the late 18th and 19th Centuries in poetry, fiction and drama. It is important to work through the questions with your team mates, but the most important thing is to enjoy the experience, and to come away with a deeper sense of what life in this period was actually like.

I could add two simple questions to the range of questions on the study guide and these would be:

  1. What is this painting/ art work telling me about human experience during the 18/19th Century? (Can you describe what is going on in the painting/ art work in as much detail as possible?)
  1. What is special about the way this painting is telling  its story? (Is it the colour,  the texture, the originality, the point of view?)

Your quiz this week will have some questions that are directly related to this art gallery visit. You will find some specific clues in the Questionnaire.  Enjoy!

Here are some of the paintings that we will be stopping by:

The Enlightenment: 


Romanticism in England and Europe: 

1/ John Glover: The Lake District UK: Ullswater 1824 (painted before he migrated to Tasmania.


Australian Romanticism

John Glover: Natives on the Ouse River 1838


John Glover: Launceston and the River Tamar 1832


The Victorian Hall



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!!!!.

Thank you Kevin for such a wonderful exposition of all the aspects of the history of the Shakespeare Room complete with its stained glass depiction of “All the World’s a Stage” speech from As You Like It: 

Here is the bulk of Kevin’s talk with my own rendition of the Jacques’ speech “All the World’s A Stage”:

And please do not miss this amazing film which begins with the line “All the World’s A Stage”:


Thank you also Emma, for your marvellous presentation of so many of Shakespeare’s works from his own times and thereafter. That was such a treat for us all: to put our hands on the texts that had allowed these creative works to live into our own times. We all thoroughly enjoyed your talk and especially all the effort you had put in to such a powerfully representative selection of works by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and their contemporaries. And again it was so good to hear about Shakespeare’s Henry IV and the way that had been one of the very first plays put in Sydney (perhaps it was the first play???!!!). In 1800 an fully convict cast in a convict built theatre, putting in one of the most politically subversive plays: what an amazing event. I hope one of our students is going to write a book about that event one day!!!!:

Here is Emma’s introduction to the Library and then her follow-up talk of all the wonderful Shakespereana (does such a word exist) in the Libary: 


Before, this extraordinary Library visit, we all had an amazing experience exploring Renaissance art depicting so many of the social and historical contexts and obsessions of the Renaissance era. Shakespeare would have been attuned to all of this and much of it would have fed into his imagination in both his poetry and his plays. Hope you found the study sheet useful to channel your interests! I have also posted up here a number of the key works that we explored today. The questions in the study guide are designed to help you make sense of what you are looking at and to help you relate the paintings and art works to the preoccupations of Shakespeare himself in his poems and plays. It is important to work through the questions with your team mates, but the most important thing is to enjoy the experience, and to come away with a deeper sense of what life around the time of Shakespeare was actually like. I do think this was achieved by all!

I could add two simple questions to the range of questions on the study guide and these would be:

  1. What is this painting/ art work telling me about human experience during the Renaissance? (Can you describe what is going on in the painting/ art work in as much detail as possible?)
  1. What is special about the way this painting is telling  its story? (Is it the colour,  the texture, the originality, the point of view?)

Your quiz this week will have some questions that are directly related to this art gallery visit and to the accompanying visit to the Shakespeare Room at the State Library. Enjoy!

Here is the first of a number of key religious works- please study your sheet carefully:

Here is the most important work in the class cabinets in the centre of the room. Study carefully!!! Click on all images to enlarge!!

So here is the talk and our discussions about the works in the art gallery: 


Classical Influences in the Renaissance- and the landscape of A Midsummer Night’s Dream…. 

Religious Art: and critically compare the two Deposition scenes. What are the key differences?

Daily LIfe in the Renaissance….

And Everday Life

Aristocratic Life

Renaissance Landscapes and Still Life:

Still Life in the Renaissance:

Sir Peter Paul Rubens




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 English and Irish artists who made their way to this country over the last 200 years. I can’t possibly put images up of all the paintings we saw, but here are a few of the most important paintings.

Here are the Gallery Conversations that we had today:

With reference to all these paintings, the most important questions to ask are:

  1. What is this painting telling me about human experience in Australia? (Can you describe what is going on in the painting in as much detail as possible?)

2. What is special about the way this painting is telling me its story? (Is it the colour,           the texture, the originality, the point of view?)

If you can answer these two questions as fully as you can then you have got a powerful blog. Click on any of the images to enlarge. These are the key art works that we will be looking at tomorrow- with a few extra additional ones….



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 own unstable emotional life.

We then turned attention to Withering Frights (otherwise known as Wuthering Heights). It was great to be able to get across what I think is the core message of the novel, namely Catherine’s yearning to find expression for the truest part of her soul- a yearning that every human being deeply shares. In tutorials we then had a wonderful time hearing everyone’s experience of this novel , with a special focus on those who really found the language difficult. So the class provided many helpful strategies for how to cope with the obstacles of reading Nineteenth Century literature. Thank you all! Some great ideas emerged, all embodied in these attached recordings. Underneath these find some of the white-board shots and then also a raft of new Blogging Topics, to take you into next week…




New Blog Topics


1/ What obstacles did you face in trying to read Wuthering Heights and how did today’s tutorial help you to work a way around some of those obstacles? What are your plans for taking action on the obstacles that you face(d)?

2/ In the voice of Heathcliffe, tell the world that you are not a destructive demon but that you embody the force of the daemon who could bring positive change to the world.


3/ What impression did Wordsworth’s poem “Resolution and Independence” make on you? Can you describe someone from your own experience who embodies some of the qualities that Wordsworth found in the Leach Gatherer?


4/ Write your own poem beginning with any of the following lines from Emily Bronte’s poems:

I’m happiest when most away….

No coward soul is mine….


5/ Write a character sketch of Emily Bronte basing all your comments on what you can see in this painting created by her brother Bramwell.

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Ben Jonson’s Shakespeare and More About Midsummer!

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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 lurve song between Hermia and her belurved Lysander which demonstrate Shakespeare’s amazing linguistic versatility as he shifts gears from the language of the court to the language of LURVE….. enjoyed by all! Please find images, recordings etc right here.

Click on images to enlarge



And Here are Some Exciting New Blog Topics


Critical and Creative ( you chose which category you put your offering in to)


*Theseus goes off with Egeus and Demetrius after telling Hermia what she has to do to prevent being executed or being sent to a nunnery for life. Imagine the conversation that takes place between Theseus, Egeus and Demetrius – off stage.

Give an example from your own life where


you have successfully confronted male domination

2/ *OR

where male domination has impinged negatively on your life.


3/ *You are Helena. Tell Demetrius what you really think of him and then tell Lysander what you think about him. You can do this in poetry or prose.


4/ *You are Hippolyta. Speak your own mind about what you really think about the interactions between Egeus, Thesues, Hermia, Demetrius and Lysander.


5/ *Write a short analysis of how the language of Egeus is used to express his fury.

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Also please find the directions to the Art Gallery which we will be visiting at 12 and 12.45 next Tuesday, before our 2.30 meeting at the State Library outside the bookshop and coffee shop in Macquarie Street – Please be sure to register for these in LEO. Please also remember to purchase tickets for The Merchant of Venice if you have not yet done so CLICK HERE TO PAY:- you can bring family and friends!!





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 they lay at the feet of the Anglophile business-men, bank-owners and all who were connected with the British hierarchy! So today we went over much useful background putting this literary and artistic period into its social and historical context. Here are the slides we went over, and underneath that the recordings from today, and underneath that the whiteboard images used and underneath that some new Blog Topics!!! Enjoy- but please don’t write such long sentences in your own work! !I am not being a good example here!!!):

Late Colonial- Early Federation

If these recordings are too faint, try these:


And here are some new Blog Topics

arising out of Week 4- You only need to do one of them and you don’t need to write any more than 200 words, but you can of course do more if you wish :)…

1/ Dame Mary Gilmore’s “Eve Song” paints the picture of a woman who is conflicted by her role as a mother and wife. Do you agree with this? Write your own account of what you think Dame Mary Gilmore is trying to show us about the experience of an Australian woman.

2/ “A Masculine World”. Do you agree that this is an accurate description of Australia then and now?

3/ Write a poem or short prose piece in which you draw attention to an experience in your own life which shows the experience of women in Australia.

4/ Write a short poem or prose piece which shows the real value of men in Australian society.

5/ Do a little research on the life of Dame Mary Gilmore (from some of the links given in LEO) and present a short synopsis of what you think is most important to know about her life.


Looking forward to seeing your work and especially to seeing you all at the Art Gallery next week. 

How to get to the Gallery: By Bus we hope…. but here are instructions if you are planning to get there any other way. I hope that we can meet at the Gallery by 11.30 am Monday (I am assuming that it will take that long for the bus to get there if it leaves around 10.15 on next Monday morning.


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: https://s00240376.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/nepal/ – thank you Alexandra

Here is an amazing description of “Silence” stimulated by reading the Romantic poets; https://nicola97toigo.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/silence-makes-the-details-louder/– Thank you Nicola

Here is a contemporary response to Marlowe’s Shepherd trying to seduce his shepherdess with material goods: https://lilibraidner.home.blog/2019/03/09/the-promise-of-a-simple-love/ – Thank you Lily…

And here is another modern varation on this theme: https://claudiabussier.wordpress.com/2019/02/27/blog-1/ – Thank you Claudia

And here is an amazing recreation of what it is like to be inside the fairy world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: https://gregcoustasblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/the-work-of-cobweb-week-3-blog-post – Thank you Greg..

And here is a further variation on this theme: https://lendsaynissan.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/dear-fadiary/ – thank you Lendsay!

And if you wanted to know everything about Judi Dench’s Shakespearean Acting Career go no further: https://mikaelaswords.home.blog/2019/03/11/judi-dench-and-shakespeare/– thank you Mikaela…

Finally we have a nymph’s serious challenge to a mail suitor: thank you Suzanne: https://suzannes2016.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/blog-1-the-nymphs-underlying-message-to-her-shepherd-suitor/ 

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 did not agree with all of this, although he did go some of the way in defending Wordsworth’s revolutionary ideas. So today we explored Preface  itself and then moved on to looking at Wordsworth’s wonderful poem on Tintern Abbey.  In tutorials we focussed on “The Tables Turned” and then on “I wondered lonely as a cloud”, contrasting this with Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal entry on the same event…

And Oh yes…. we had a peek preview of some of the best blogs so far that have been coming in. Here are the blogs we explored in this morning’s lecture: Well done to you all:

*Veronica Casha https://vcasha230.wordpress.com/

* Anthony Digges  https://anthonydigges.home.blog/

*Caitlin Mccartney https://caitlinmccartney.art.blog/ 

*Hamish Milne  https://hamishmilne.home.blog

*Julianna Murphy  https://juliannasliteratureblog.wordpress.com

*Samia Piper-Larkings  https://samia.home.blog

*Serena Saliba https://serenasliteratureblog.wordpress.com/

*Lauren Ward  https://laurenward.home.blog/

*Isabella Woodley   https://bellawoodley.wordpress.com/

*Sandy Yaacoub  http://sandy544628477.wordpress.com

And remember please- if you fell inclined to visit the Blogs of the Mount Druitt students (who are studying a Liberal Arts Certificate through ACU as part of the Clemente program Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 2.41.13 pm


So here now are the audio versions of today’s lectures and tutorials. You will find the slides used today up in LEO in week 3.

Here are the white board images that accompanied the tutorials (please click on each image to enlarge it to full size!):


And here are a batch of new blog topics for week 3: 



Why was Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads so revolutionary?



What does Wordsworth’s poem “I wondered lonely as a cloud” tell us about the poets emotional connection to the daffodils he sees?



Dorothy’s journal is REAL. It is direct, straightforward and paints a feelingful picture!

William’s poem is FORCED AND FAKE. It might be vibrant and energetic, but it is too pushy!


Whose side of the argument are you on? Make a case.



Write a prose journal entry (like Dorothy Wordsworth’s) in which you capture a day in the country with all its events and its one special moment.



Write a poem (like William’s) in which you capture the deeper meaning of an event experienced (in the country or the city). What makes this event come so deeply alive to you?



Either by way of analysis OR by way of creating a parallel experience (in prose or verse) see if you can show your reader what you understand by these lines which complete William Wordsworth’s second stanza of “Lines- Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey…”


“Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

In body, and become a living soul:

While with an eye made quiet by the power

Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,

We see into the life of things. “



Create your own topic, building on issues raised in class and drawing on your own experience as well on the literature studied today.





Shakespeare 2019 Week 3: The Play within a Play- All the World’s A Stage


Today we homed into this aspect of Shakespeare’s subversive and controversial writing. Shakespeare loves to dramatize the way in which we all spend so much of our energy play acting, both to ourselves and to others. Where is the real “me” we may all well ask- and Shakespeare seems to be challenging us with this question at all times.

So today we read and began to perform those sections of the play that present a stage world within the stage world of the play. Quince, Bottom, Snug and the rest hamming up a performance which mirrors ironically the world in front of which they are performing.

Before we started on the play itself today we looked at poems by Mary Wroth and Thomas Wyatt who thematically (from both ends of the 16th Century) expressed their sense of the pain of love.

So please listen in to our talks and discussion on these topics. And find here also the slides we used for our talk:

Lecture Week 3

Find also the white board images below (click to enlarge) and scroll to the bottom of this blog for New Blog Topics for this week. 


For your interest, I worked with Clemente students a few years back and with them put on a performance of scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream which included the play within a play section. We had a write up in the Sydney Morning Herald for the performance. Unfortunately the picture that went with the article is no longer available. But here is the article itself on the performance:

THEY call it “the University of the Homeless and Marginalised”.

Yesterday, eight people who have dealt with the hell of homelessness performed a dramatised reading from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Mission Australia Centre in Surry Hills – the first graduates of a 13-week course in English and Australian literature, endorsed by the Australian Catholic University.

For Anissa Chatt, who played Bottom in the celebrated “wall scene”, the reading had poetic symbolism. Like her fellow “actors”, she knows what it is like to hit rock bottom – to have been homeless and face the wall of public indifference.

“There’s generally a sentiment out there that if someone is homeless, it must be their fault,” explained Chatt, 24. “There must be something wrong with them. They can’t be intelligent people. They can’t have anything to contribute to the community.

“Pretty much everyone I’ve met on this course does have something to contribute. They’ve got brains and this is their chance to show it.”

Chatt is not what most would associate with homelessness. Articulate and funny, she attended St Scholastica’s College in Glebe and has held corporate jobs. But she has been homeless twice, first as a schoolgirl when she left home after “a family breakdown” and more recently when it was confirmed she has a congenital immunological disorder.

But if Chatt is not “typical”, neither were her fellow students. Fifteen started the course, taught by the university’s Professor Michael Griffith, based on an American model. There were refugees, chronic gamblers, victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addicts. Seven dropped out.

Those who survived studied texts by Patrick White, W.B. Yeats, and Tim Winton for 12 weeks before a final week preparing for yesterday’s reading under the eye of professional actor and director John Gibson, who has worked at the centre for the past year teaching performing arts to the homeless. “[All] these people have … faced their own dramas, some of which are horrific. What this course has done is give them a sense of dignity”.

New Blog Questions- week 3:


1/ Use either Mary Wroth’s song “Love what art thou?”  or/and Thomas Wyatt’s “My galley” to write your own poem about the pain of love (It Hurts!).


2/ You all now have a taste of Bottom. Write a brief sketch of a situation in which a character like Bottom tries to take control of all the events… and describe how you try to deal with him.


3/ Watch two versions of the play within a play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and write a brief critical appraisal of which version you like best.


4/ From all you are hearing about Shakespeare, what kind of person do you imagine him to be? Write a brief paragraph on this topic.


5/ How many productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream have there been in Sydney during the last 10 years. Can you find any really interesting reviews on what kind of audience reaction there has been to any of these productions.


6/ Create a mini-digital kit that will provide us all with some useful resources for studying A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Annotate the resources you chose saying why you think they will help our understanding.


7/ Create a topic of your own- either critical or creative.


Clemente Mount Druitt Week 3- From Charles Harpur to D.H. Lawrence 

Slides used in Week 3: Clemente Week 3 Slides

We began by celebrating the work of all those students who have managed to get their first blogs up. Well done you digital technical wizz-kids!!!! It is wonderful to begin to hear how you are taking so much from the content and are willing to share your own experiences. Great work all of you… and more to come from the rest of the class!

Jenny Bird  https://nannieseven.home.blog/

Julie Hawkins https://julieisajunkie.home.blog

Rita   https://ritalearns.home.blog

Geoff https://goldensparrow.home.blog

Heather https://broomy69.home.blog

We then had a ball today deciphering Charles Harpur’s early 19th Century depiction of a hot noon in an Australian forest. While his vocabulary is still so “British” he has a passionate appreciation for the distinctiveness of the Australian Bush in all its sounds and silence; especially the silence and the deep and penetrating quiet. Harpur was clearly a romantic in his spiritual awareness of the magnficent power of the Australian bush! And I really feel that the class as a whole “got it!!!!”

There is such magic in the sound and imagery of the lines: Till rising in the sunshine higher, / Its shards flame out like gems on fire. The sound and imagery here capture this moment of incandescence in which the beatle, the sunlight and the wonder of the bush all come magically together.


Here is that magnificent poem as a whole :

Not a bird disturbs the air!

There is quiet everywhere;

Over plains and over woods

What a mighty stillness broods.


Even the grasshoppers keep

Where the coolest shadows sleep;

Even the busy ants are found

Resting in their pebbled mound;

Even the locust clingeth now

In silence to the barky bough:

And over hills and over plains

Quiet, vast and slumbrous, reigns.


Only there’s a drowsy humming

From yon warm lagoon slow coming:

‘Tis the dragon-hornet – see!

All bedaubed resplendently

With yellow on a tawny ground –

Each rich spot nor square nor round,

But rudely heart-shaped, as it were

The blurred and hasty impress there,

Of vermeil-crusted seal

Dusted o’er with golden meal:

Only there’s a droning where

Yon bright beetle gleams the air –

Gleams it in its droning flight

With a slanting track of light,

Till rising in the sunshine higher,

Its shards flame out like gems on fire.


Every other thing is still,

Save the ever wakeful rill,

Whose cool murmur only throws

A cooler comfort round Repose;

Or some ripple in the sea

Of leafy boughs, where, lazily,

Tired Summer, in her forest bower

Turning with the noontide hour,

Heaves a slumbrous breath, ere she

Once more slumbers peacefully.


0 ’tis easeful here to lie

Hidden from Noon’s scorching eye,

In this grassy cool recess


We also explored D.H. Lawrence’s amazing description of the landscape south of Sydney which he sees as having an invisible beauty, beyond our comprehension and yet somehow carrying within it something almost aboriginal. Lawrence like Harpur (but 100 years later) was trying to capture the amazing, mysterious feeling of the bush.

We had some excellent discussions on both of these works and you can hear the full discussion right here. Please also see the white board images that went with our talk.

Underneath the white board images are a few new blog topics for you to try!






1/ Describe in your own words what you understand is Charles Harpur’s experience of the bush?



2/ Try to point out by way of analysis how can we feel Harpur’s experience through the words and images he has chosen (in their sound as well as their meaning)?



3/ Write a poem about your own experience of a hot Australian summer’s day. It does not need to be set in the bush!



4/ Try to describe what you think D.H. Lawrence means by the “invisible beauty” of the landscape.



5/ Describe your own train journey through an amazing part of the Australian landscape. You can do this either in prose or poetry…..


6/ With reference to Charles Harpur’s poem “Midsummer Noon…” describe how you think his choice of words in sound as well as meaning helps us to feel his experience?






Pandaemonium Part 2: The Romantics Contd.

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“mind-forged manacles” 

We had some fabulous classes this morning exploring William Blake as both a mystic and a social activist in the poems “Auguries of Innocence” and “London”

Click on the poems for a direct link. You can hear a wonderful class discussion on both these poems right here: 

And here are some of the white board images that accompanied our talk. Click on any of these images to enlarge them!

The last three images were from the wonderful tutorial we had on Wordsworth’s “Expostulation and Reply” in which Wordsworth’s outlook on what is needed to lead a fulfilling life is presented. This is a truly “Romantic” point of view in which the emphasis is on stillness, intuition and allowing wisdom to enter us rather than trying to forcefully push ourselves into it. You will see these ideas beautifully represented in the many quotes from the class that appear in the last three white board images above.

And here are the audios for those brilliant discussions: 

Additional Blog Topics

Here are some more Blog Topics for your first Blog (find some earlier topics in last week’s Blog). You are permitted to choose any ONE of the topics from either this week or last week &  you can even create your own topic as long as it aligns in some way to the content of this week’s classes. But you are permitted- of course- to include reflections from your own life experience….

Try to keep your Blogs within the word limit. That is a minimum of 200 and a maximum of ……?????????? Don’t get carried away with the task… you do have other work to do!!!



Write an argument between two friends about a topic which shows how radically different they are in their thinking. You can structure the argument as a poem (in the way that Wordsworth does in “Expostulation and Reply”) or you can write the argument simply as a prose piece.


Write a short poem or prose piece on a city that you know well, drawing attention to some of the negative aspects of the way the city is organized. Keep Blake’s “London” in mind as a kind of model.


Create a short conversation between Samuel Taylor Coleridge, his wife Sarah and Dorothy Wordsworth. They are talking about the importance of babies……



Say in your own words what you think Wordsworth’s poem “The Tables Turned” is about? Is Wordsworth the loser in this argument? Why? Why not?


Find out what you can about Dorothy Wordsworth and about Coleridge’s wife Sarah. What makes them such different women?


Find out what you can about the key personality differences between Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth.


Shakespeare 2019- Week 2

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See Judi Dench in the full video right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSDQjEJTPzg

Hi All, well we made it finally into A Midsummer Night’s Dream through the gateway of  The Sonnets and Shakespeare’s many-sided sexuality! And we also learned about his deep and passionate belief in the power of art, of literature, of poetry to transcend the ravaging effects of time: “How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea?” So please find here the audio for today’s sessions and the whiteboard side-dishes:



And here now are some additional blog topics that you might like to use for your first blog (and remember you are also permitted to create your own topic as long as it links in some way to what we are doing in a given week- but it can also include aspects of your own life!):

Also, please note as you will have observed from the unit outline page 4, the first blog is NOT due TILL Monday March 11th. So there should be no panic.


New topics:


  • Imagine yourself as either Titania or Bottom. Tell your audience in your own words (either in prose or poetry) what you really feel about this situation…..
  • You are one of the fairies that accompany Titania. In your own language tell your audience what your life is like outside the moment of this play in which you have a specific job to do accompanying Bottom to his “bridal” bed….  You can tell us where you live, what you do most of the time, who your friends are etc….
  • Write a sonnet about a painful or beautiful experience – and while it can be, it doesn’t have to be, about LURVE!!!!!


  • Take any one of the sonnets alluded to today and write a prose exposition of what you think the sonnet is saying and why you think what it is saying is important.
  • See you if you can show by listing examples how the language of poetry is different from the language of prose in Act 3 Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Write a short piece on how many times Judi Dench has played in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and if possible find out what she thinks about the play.



Budjwa Bay Again

Back to my old haunt the wonderful Bay just West of Cowan. This an amazing spot to experience total silence- and yet so close to the city.

Spiders were all the way down the track and ducking and weaving was the only way of ensuring that their food supply mechanism was not destroyed!


Clemente Mount Druit- Week 2

We had a wonderful morning in which we explored the magic of Judith Wright’s poetry, especially in her poem “A Wattle Tree”. So many good responses to this poem from the class showed that Judith Wright really does have a way of making us see the landscape in a totally new, transformed, way. And the rhyme in her poem really brings out some of the most important ideas and experiences that the poem presents:

Sun/ One– the sun is the central and sole source of all life on earth

Unfold/ Gold– Gold is the most precious substance on the earth here opening out like a flower

Rejoice/Voice– we rejoice with our voice when we are completely in harmony with ourselves and the world around.

Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 8.57.30 am

You can listen to our conversation about this poem and about some of the material connected with “The Mountain’s Own Meaning” in the two recordings below. Enjoy.

Remember also that you can access a wonderful reference resource on the language of poetry by clicking on item no 7 in the sidebar in this blog!

And here are a couple of the white board images that followed along our conversation yesterday (you can click on these images to enlarge them):

And here also are two additional Blog Topics that you can add to list week’s list. Remember you only need to do ONE of these topics by Sunday of this week. If you can’t do it in WordPress then please write it/ type it out and bring it to class next Monday. If you do get your Blog into WordPress then please send me your URL- to michael.griffith@acu.edu.au (or put it into LEO).

New Blog Topics:

1/ What does the wattle tree become in Judith Wright’s imagination? Expand on the notes you made on this question in class. Write a minimum of 200 words and be sure to check your spelling…..

2/ Write a short prose description or try writing a short poem about a tree that really means a lot to you personally. You might even include a photograph of your favourite tree, describing it in detail in your own words….

Enjoy the process of writing and creating!!@!

Introduction to Nineteenth Century Literature

Off to a great start with Nineteenth Century Literature! So good to sense your interest and enthusiasm in the Romantic poets. We are going to enjoy this ride through this amazing century together!

Here are the recordings for this week’s lectures and tutorials and also a few blog topics to get you started:


Possible Blog Topics


1/ You have just heard and discussed Coleridge’s “silent icicles, / Quietly shining to the quiet Moon….” Write your own description in prose or poetry of some moments of intense silence where you feel your experience has opened up to a new world of understanding.


1/ Can you say briefly what was the most important idea(s) that came from this morning’s lecture or tutorial? Can you also say why it was important to you?

2/ See if you can find out a little more about why Coleridge wrote “Frost at Midnight” and whether his wife appreciated this poem.

Either Critical or Creative

Create your own topic based on any aspect of this morning’s lecture or tutorials.

Remember that images (photos) etc can be an important part of your blogs…


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Shakespeare Week 1 2019

Hello All: a great start! Thank you all for your keen participation in our introduction to the world of Shakespeare and to the theme of love as it played out in two of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, Christopher Marlow and Sir Walter Raleigh. Here are the recordings for our class this week: enjoy.

And here a few possible blog topics arising from our first tutorial:

1/ (Critical) Describe – with evidence- what you think the Nymph’s underlying message is to her Shepherd suitor.

2/ (Creative) Be the Nymph!!! and in your own creative poem or prose piece challenge this young upstart Shepherd and tell him what you really want for him- and what you think about his proposals!!

3/ (Creative) Be the Shepherd!!! and in your own creative poem or prose piece try to be so convincing that no modern “nymph”  could possibly refuse you!!!!


Clemente OZ Lit 2019 Mount Druitt

Hello All, it was really good to start to get to know all of you yesterday: Vivian, Honeylene, Malia, Laura, Jeff, Suzanne, Heather, Jenny, Claire, Rita, Joseph, Julie, Geoffrey…. Peter…. I hope I have not left anyone out!

We got off to a good start with our discussions on some poems by Indigenous poets who have suffered the impact of being part of the Stolen Generation. We also looked at the art work of Margaret Preston and Russell Drysdale and we started looking at the poetry of Judith Wright. You can find all the images that we used in the lecture in LEO (just near to where you found this link).

For now, this is where I have posted up the audio recordings from Monday’s session:

Here now are some ideas for your first blog topic for this coming week.

1/ Take any one of the answers you gave to questions raised in the lecture and polish your answers into a blog of around 200 words. Make sure that your spelling and grammar is “up to scratch”. You can get your learning partners to help you with this.

2/ Write a short poem or prose piece about your experience of beginning a new course. What does it feel like to be in a class of “strangers”? What insights and experiences came to you as a result of being in the class for 2 hours?

3/ Tell us a little bit about yourself: who you are, why you are studying Oz Lit? What brought you to the Clemente program. You can include a photo (of your place or yourself) if you wish….

Remember that Blogs are Public – so only post what you are comfortable with.


Wonderful New York Blogs from the Class of 2019: The Literature and Drama of New York.


The Best of the Bunch – those who earned a High Distinction in this assessment item are the top in the list:

Emily Eicke

Abbey Zito

Mathilda Meader 

Carina Field 

Lauren Tribe

Melody Carroll 

Jessica Smith 

Helen Citroni 


AND  The rest were not far behind:


Kristen Nicola 

Adam Jones 

Darcy Lucid 







Jackson Eagles: 



Well done everyone! We all had a wonderful experience: thank you all for taking part so professionally and with such spirit!