Love & Intellect: Recipe for Peace

Come and be stimulated by presentations and discussions on the mysticism of Rumi, St John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, Hadewijch of Antwerp and others in this exciting interfaith presentation by the Al Ghazzali Centre, ACU and ACU’s SLA (The Sacred in Literature and the Arts Group).  These mystical writers have a vitally important message for…

BlakeanPineappleCoconutsBBsBlakesoniansBlakettes….

Our Blakean students today created some wonderful drama pieces that captured the life, times and contemporary significance of William Blake. There were dramatizations of some of his greatest poems (e.g “London”) with animations of overcrowded London streets; there were scenes of contemporary life emphasizing the fact that we spend too much time on chasing the dollar…

Nation, Race and Language: “Wherever I hang my knickers – that’s my home.”

Today we explored a range of immigrant writers who either embraced the English Language totally (such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka), or those who enjoyed flaunting the creative powers of their own appropriation of English (such as Louise Bennett and Grace Nichols), finally to those such as M.Nourbese Philip who seemed to lament the loss…

Remembering Babylon- David Malouf

Whether this is Jerusalem or Babylon we know not: William Blake The Four Zoas. With this epigraph from William Blake, David Malouf challenges us to consider whether the colonial Australian world that he evokes in this beautiful novel is a place in which harmony might evolve, or in which chaos and lamentation might descend. It is…

George Orwell: The Creation of an Orwellian Backbone as a Way towards Purifying the Human Condition.

George Orwell who experienced the horrors of imperial exploitation when working as a police officer in Burma began then to think of ways in which he could challenge corruption in politics, indeed in all human affairs, using his gift of language. Language for Orwell was man’s most creative as well as his most destructive tool.…

Patrick White’s Gift of Reconciliation

Patrick White had the extraordinary insight, back in 1961 to write about the amazing creativity inherent in his Aboriginal character Alf Dubbo who plays a leading role in the novel Riders in the Chariot. The novel won the Miles Franklin award in that year and then in 1965 won the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society. Patrick White’s…

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…