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Literary musings from your contemporaries

Art and Artifice

Words || Sunil Badami I’ve been thinking a lot about stories, and storytelling lately. I suppose I should — after all, I’m a writer. Aren’t stories my stock in trade?  But, like most writers, a lot of my time is spent thinking about other things — mainly the things...

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The Good Doctor

Words || Luke Carman Each morning, on the outskirts of Penrith, where the neighbour’s cows sag on the tilting fences staked into moss-green hills, Dr Anthony Seage would rise to squint into the endless predawn traffic, away from his still-sleeping wife and children,...

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The Ghosts of Eleanor Dark

Words by Luke Carman I was raised in a house where inconspicuous wards were placed in every room to protect us against the threat of supernatural entities – an evil eye over the front door, rings blessed by priests hanging from boards, statuettes of saints by the...

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Keep Going, Get Better || Luke Carman

Words || Luke Carman  In November 2018 there was an arts festival out in Blacktown. Each evening the festivities began with an address from a Bigambul Elder named Uncle Wes, who told stories on the library steps with his mic crackling against the caprice of the summer...

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Rethinking Voss || Jonathan Dunk

Increasingly I think that the best kinds of writing about literature estrange it: illuminate its singularities through the performance of reading. So there’s a sense in which a ‘case for’ any particular novel is inherently pyrrhic. That said, where Patrick White’s...

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Theses on Colonial Antinomy || Jonathan Dunk

Words || Jonathan Dunk  Aboriginal writing is different. Not in any innate primitivist sense, it’s just doing different things, following different rules and patterns of relation. It doesn’t follow the straight lines that wittingly or otherwise I’ve learnt, been...

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Dodge Rose: Heretical Modernism by Jonathan Dunk

Words || Jonathan Dunk  It’s been ubiquitously noted that the publication of Jack Cox’s Dodge Rose in 2016 bucked a number of Auslit publication trends, and some international formal ones. Beginning with the obvious, it was published by Dalkey Archive in the US before...

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Neurological Illness in Australian Fiction

I don’t read fiction about illness much. I know that’s not what you expected, as it goes directly against the premise of this essay. But fiction allows me to inhabit another body; it’s a luxury. I’m not sure I want to read about a body that is ill like mine. Thinking...

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Distilling Illness in ‘Shaping the Fractured Self’

Words || Katerina Bryant  “Sometimes pus, sometimes a poem… but always pain.” —Yehuda Amichai, as quoted in Shaping the Fractured Self The first poem I loved was Sylvia Plath’s Tulips. I didn’t understand it; not at first. I was in the last year of high school and our...

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Australian Writing and Essays on Illness || Katerina Bryant

Words || Katerina Bryant  When I first became ill, I tried to find stories like mine. I needed to see myself on the page to believe I could adapt to a new life: a quieter, restrained life. I will not go into the particulars of my illness here—it is a sticky blend of...

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Character and Its Critics

By James Jiang https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3CAzsp7JRY Few words have performed as much public service of late as character.[1] With the resignation of Barnaby Joyce as the National Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, we may finally be getting an end to the...

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Love in a Hopeless Place: In Memory of Christopher Lasch

By James Jiang   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe-dKUl8GeI   This Valentine’s Day marks the twenty-fourth anniversary of the death of the American historian and cultural critic, Christopher Lasch. Best known for The Culture of Narcissism (1979), a trenchant critique...

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Critical Mass: Authority, Expertise, and Aesthetic Democracy

By James Jiang   “You don’t have to have read a book to have an opinion on it. … I don’t read novels. I prefer good literary criticism. That way, you get both the novelist’s ideas as well as the critic’s thinking.” So says Tom Townsend, the strait-laced Princeton...

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Old Narratives, New Narrators

By Nasrin Mahoutchi-Hosaini Karl-Heinz Stierle writes, “The prototype of the narrator, is the storyteller. We have a quite definite conception of him: he is old rather than young; in fairytales he is the kind uncle or—if it is a woman—the kind aunt or grandmother. He...

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The Modern Persian Short Story

By Nasrin Mahoutchi-Hosaini The modern Persian short story is almost a century old and arrived to Persia via the translation of writers such as Chekhov, Poe, Kafka, and Gogol. When in 20’s and 30’s the Iranian government aimed at modernising the country it allowed...

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The Female Voice in Contemporary Persian Literature

By Nasrin Mahoutchi-Hosaini A new diverse and dynamic literary landscape has emerged since the 1978-79 revolution in Iran, “…a fusion of creative resistance and resistant creatively[1].” New male and female writers have succeeded in bringing fresh aesthetic principals...

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Reading Under Candlelight

By Nasrin Mahoutchi-Hosaini During the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988), there were constant curfews and darkness. My family used one of our big family rooms to sit, eat, read and even sleep in. At night, it was like a dark classroom with students from different...

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Post (mortem) cards #4: Hodie Mihi, Cras Tibi

By Chloe Wilson I attended Catholic schools and went through all their various rituals: dreaming up things to confess to our sleepy parish priest; allowing communion wafers to adhere to my palate; flicking through hymn books to find the most amusing hymn to request...

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Post (mortem) cards #3: Who Can Be Against Us?

By Chloe Wilson Headline writers seem to find toilets irresistible. Search for the Faggiano Museum in Lecce, Puglia, and the title of every result will mention that its existence is owed to a broken toilet and one man’s obsessive quest to restore functional...

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Post (mortem) Cards #2: We Follow (Because) We Are Virgins

By Chloe Wilson I’m not sure what drew me to read the one- and two-star reviews for Palermo’s Catacombe dei Cappuccini (Capuchin Catacombs). Perhaps it was their inherent potential for absurdity — there’s something so tenaciously churlish in taking the time and effort...

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Post (mortem) cards #1: Ohimè (Oh Me)

By Chloe Wilson In Palermo, I came across a portrait of a rather unhappy-looking nun. The image was cluttered with accoutrements demonstrating her piety: a spindly bunch of white flowers, a crucifix, a crown of thorns. For all that, her expression was sullen, or...

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Metal Gear Socialist

By Mark Steven   In Lenin’s Plan for Monumental Propaganda, first announced in April 1918, we encounter a moment of direct, unmediated contact between state power and the aesthetic regime. Lenin’s objective was a public art that affirmed socialism by using the...

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The Poetry of Reaction

By Mark Steven September 1884. Battle Mountain, Queensland. 100 kilometers northeast of Mount Isa, deep in the Cloncurry Ranges. Land-owning stationmaster Alexander Kennedy and Sub Inspector Frederick Charles Urquhart lead a mounted assault against the region’s...

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Marxism’s Australian Origins

By Mark Steven     Here’s my hypothesis: the Russian Revolution of 1917 is an indictment of the thing we call Australia. That sounds ludicrous, but only because it’s a statement that wants for mediation. To make good on this claim we need to establish a third term...

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Moscow, 1917 – Sydney, 2017.

By Mark Steven October 2017. One hundred years since the Russian Revolution. This profoundly universalist event transformed global politics, it recast the twentieth century as a battle for real emancipation, and it did so with a frontal assault on capitalism and its...

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Emplacement

by Jessica White ‘One can never fault a Brisbane winter,’ I smugly tell my friends in the south. The air is mild, the light golden, and one only needs a jumper in the evenings. Come summer, though, it’s a different story. I’m far from smug when I’m lying on the couch...

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