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Meanjin logo
y Meanjin periodical  
Alternative title: Meanjin Papers; Meanjin Quarterly
Date: 1940-1974
Date: 1974-1982
Date: 1982-1986
Date: 1987-1993
Date: 1994-1998
Date: 1998-2001
Date: 2001-2007
Date: 2008-2010
Date: 2011-
Issue Details: First known date: 1940; Latest issue indexed: 2016 1940
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Latest Issues

y Meanjin vol. 75 no. 3 Spring 2016 10022360 2016 periodical issue
y Meanjin Culture Wars vol. 75 no. 2 Winter 2016 9643738 2016 periodical issue
y Meanjin vol. 75 no. 1 Autumn 2016 9447796 2016 periodical issue
y Meanjin vol. 74 no. 4 December 2015 9277864 2015 periodical issue
y Meanjin The Democracy Issue vol. 74 no. 3 Spring 2015 8928947 2015 periodical issue

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The first issue of Meanjin was published at Brisbane in 1940, containing the poems of Clem Christesen, James Picot, Brian Vrepont and Paul Grano. Christesen was the founding editor and remained in that position until 1974, attempting to produce a 'journal of ideas, built around books, to encourage free expression and intelligent criticism, to put forward "advance guard" material, develop contacts abroad--a Literary Lend-lease'. To this end, Christesen attracted a diverse group of writers from Australia and overseas. In the 1940s Australian writers included poets such as Harold Stewart, Harry Hooton, Peter Hopegood, Max Harris, Rex Ingamells, Hugh McCrae and R. D. FitzGerald ; critics such as Vance and Nettie Palmer, A. R. Chisholm and R. G. Howarth; fiction writers such as Xavier Herbert and Katharine Susannah Prichard; and a variety of other commentators such as Norman Bartlett, Lloyd Ross, Brian Fitzpatrick and Manning Clark. Overseas writers whose work appeared in Meanjin included Anais Nin, Arthur Koestler and Jean-Paul Sartre. Accompanying the work of these writers were sketches, designs and woodcuts from a number of visual artists, including Margaret Preston, Frank Medworth, Noel Counihan and Roy Dalgarno.

Following an offer by Melbourne University to publish and manage the magazine, Christesen and his wife, Nina, moved to Melbourne in February 1945. Despite the financial security and institutional support, circulation dropped during the next twelve months. Christesen was forced to seek sponsorship from other sources to supplement the contribution from the university. By the late 1940s the distinct business connection with the university had ended but infrastructure was still provided, maintaining Meanjin 's institutional home.

With the onset of the Cold War, Communist Party sympathisers were being increasingly targetted and Meanjin was no exception. The Christesens were regularly under surveillance and were implicated in the Petrov Affair in 1955. But despite this adverse attention (threatening the approval of literary grants) and the destruction of many friendships, the circulation of Meanjin remained strong throughout the 1950s. In the late 1950s and 1960s, Christesen continued to attract the work of some of Australia's best writers and intellectuals, building a strong group of regular contributors, including A. D. Hope, A. A. Phillips, Judith Wright, Jack Lindsay, John Morrison, Robert D. FitzGerald, James K Baxter and David Martin. Meanjin also contributed to discussion on the visual arts with regular contributions from Allan McCulloch, Ursula Hoff and Bernard Smith. In addition, Several important series were produced in the 1960s with titles such as 'Australian Heritage', 'Godzone', 'Pacific Signposts', and 'The Temperament of Generations'. But with the growth of a new generation in a rapidly changing culture, and Christesen's flagging energy, Meanjin began to lose the distinctive tone that its long-time editor had fostered. The future of the magazine became a concern.

The historian Jim Davidson had been acting as editor for some time before he was officially instated in 1975. During his eight-year term Davidson attempted to attract a new generation of readers to Meanjin, with special issues on Papua and New Guinea, Women and the Arts, and Aboriginal culture. Davidson also introduced interviews in a new format that brought the first change in size to Meanjin since 1951. In the first issue of 1982 Judith Brett was acknowledged as Associate Editor, taking over from Davidson in the next issue. Like Davidson, Brett responded to changes in Australian culture, extending the discussion of women writers begun in the late 1970s and introducing a focus on migrant writers. Throughout this period Meanjin continued to print the works of many of Australia's best creative writers. Contributors during this period included Bruce Dawe, John Tranter, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Tom Shapcott, Jennifer Maiden, Les Murray, Patrick White, Frank Moorhouse, Morris Lurie, Laurie Clancy and Michael Wilding. In addition to established writers Meanjin also published the work of new writers, including Tim Winton, Nicholas Jose, Marion Halligan and Garry Disher.

Throughout the 1990s Meanjin went through several changes to format and faced a number of financial challenges. Jenny Lee's term as editor brought a more academic tone to the magazine and introduced regular thematic issues (but this has not always pre-determined the selection of creative writing). Many issues focussed on cultural studies, postmodernism, postcolonialism and the state of the humanities. Other issues explored landscape, music, women's knowledge, Aboriginal issues and the Pacific region.

When Christina Thompson became editor in 1994, she brought another shift in tone, suggesting that Meanjin had become too academic, and pushed for a greater clarity in the contributions. Issues explored during Thompson's term included Canadian studies, corporatisation, suburban life, the Pacific region and queer studies. In the mid 1990s Meanjin faced severe financial setback when regular government funding was significantly reduced. Despite seeking outside funding, the diminished budget had an immediate effect. With inadequate funds to support productions costs, only three issues were produced in 1997. Thompson also experienced strong opposition from some Meanjin board members and did not seek reappointment.

In 1998 Melbourne University bought Meanjin to avoid its closure, imposing stronger control of the magazine's business dealings. Stephanie Holt, with a background in visual arts journalism, was appointed editor. During Holt's term, Meanjin explored issues on travel, crime, reconciliation, and revisited the idea of the cultural cringe. Former editor, Jim Davidson, later remarked that Holt had made Meanjin 'absolutely contemporary again'. But Holt faced some opposition at the end of her term and was controversially replaced by historian Ian Britain in 2001, causing several board members to resign in protest. Britain has since produced themed issues on museums, life writing, drugs and food.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1940

Works about this Work

Literary Magazine Meanjin May Close After Losing Australia Council Funding Monica Tan , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 12 May 2016;
'Magazine with 76-year history in jeopardy after funding application to Australia Council rejected, ending council’s continuous support since 1974.'
Black Friday Steve Dow , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 21 May 2016;
The Future of Magazines 2014 single work column
— Appears in: Overland , Spring no. 216 2014; (p. 19-24)
The Meaning of Meanjin Matthew Wengert , 2014 single work essay
— Appears in: One Page : Brisbane , January vol. 1 no. 1 2014; (p. 12)
Literary Journal Appoints New Editor Adam Carey , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 18 January 2013; (p. 6)
Meanjin Joins App Heap Jason Steger , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 26 January 2013; (p. 33)
The Fine Art of Survival Nigel Featherstone , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 2 March 2013; (p. 6)
Books That Changed Me...Sam Twyford-Moore Sam Twyford-Moore , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald ND Afir , 19 May 2013; (p. 21)
2013 in Lit Mags Jennifer Mills , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Overland (Online) , December 2013;

— Review of Island no. 133 Winter 2013 periodical issue ; Review of Australian Fiction 2012 periodical (119 issues); Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
Letter to Tom Collins Anna Heyward , 2012 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Meanjin , Summer vol. 71 no. 4 2012; (p. 47-55)
A Cork upon the Ocean : Meanjin and the Changing Context 1940-2010 Jim Davidson , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , [Autumn] vol. 70 no. 1 2011; (p. 126-140)
Which Way to Jump? Sophie Cunningham , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Newswrite : The NSW Writers' Centre Magazine , April/May no. 196 2011; (p. 6-7)
'Sophie Cunningham examines literary journals and the challenges of moving online' (Editor's abstract)
A New Web Journal for Meanjin Lieu Pham , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: Voice , 15 August - 11 September vol. 7 no. 8 2011;
Australian Literary Journals : Virtual and Social Benjamin Laird , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , December vol. 36 no. 2011;
'Twenty years ago, if you published a quarterly literary journal, you could be certain what that meant: four issues a year. In 2003, when Anna Hedigan wrote her overview of journals and their web presence not much had changed. The publishers' attitude to the online space was that it was essentially a placeholder for the print journal.

Genevieve Tucker's review four years later suggested many of the journals were becoming more sophisticated, with more content online and greater interest in design. Relevant to the 2007 review, RMIT publishing announced in September that it had partnered to "produce a comprehensive digital archive of Australia's most iconic literary and cultural journals". This initiative will provide full archives for a number of Australian literary journals.' (Author's introduction)
An Uncertain Profession : Australian Women Writers in the Postwar Years Susan Sheridan , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Humanities Australia , no. 2 2011; (p. 8-15)
Meanland : The Internet - Friend or Foe to the Small Magazine Ali Alizadeh , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , September 2011;
Literary Stoush over Online Future Jason Steger , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 28 October 2010; (p. 3)
Meanjin Editor Bites the Dust, Mag to Follow? Peter Craven , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Age , 28 October 2010; (p. 19)
With the departure of the editor, Sophie Cunningham, an online presence only for the little magazine Meanjin seems imminent. Peter Craven argues for the preservation of the print version of 'Australia's most famous literary magazine'.

70 Not Out, but Another Editor Is Jason Steger , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 30 October 2010; (p. 26)
A column canvassing current literary news including a report on changes for the Melbourne-based literary journal Meanjin. The changes include the departure of Sophie Cunningham as editor and possible changes in the print/online ratio of publication. Jason Steger also notes the founding of Clan Destine Press by crime writer Linday Cameron.
Meanjin Mustn't Fade from the Page 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 29 October 2010; (p. 18)
Rebirth a Cause for Celebration Nicola Walker , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 19-20 July 2008; (p. 35)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
The new editor of Meanjin, Sophie Cunningham, has introduced changes to the cover and content of this Australian literary quarterly magazine.
One Hundred Meanjins 1965 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 16 September 1965; (p. 792) Broadside , vol. 3 no. 4 1966; (p. 25-26)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues); Meanjin Quarterly vol. 24 no. 1 March 1965 periodical issue
Untitled H. Winston Rhodes , 1965 single work review
— Appears in: Aumla , November no. 24 1965; (p. 316-317)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues); Meanjin Quarterly vol. 24 no. 1 March 1965 periodical issue
Untitled Terry Sturm , 1966 single work review
— Appears in: Landfall , vol. 20 no. 1966; (p. 403-405)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues); Meanjin Quarterly vol. 24 no. 1 March 1965 periodical issue
A Tour Among the Magazines that Look at Literature Marion Halligan , 1983 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 5 January 1983; (p. 13)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues); Island Magazine 1981 periodical (32 issues)
vol.24, no.1 100th Issue Reviews Grahame Johnston , 1965 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 12 June 1965; (p. 10)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
Untitled H. G. Kippax , 1965 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 1 May 1965; (p. 18)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
Untitled Michael Wilding , 1965 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Highway , vol. 40 no. 4 1965; (p. 22-25)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
vol.24, no.2 Reviews A. R. Chisholm , 1965 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 11 September 1965; (p. 22)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
vol.24, no.4 25 Anniversary Issue Reviews R. F. Brissenden , 1965 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 11 December 1965; (p. 10)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
Untitled 1966 single work review
— Appears in: Broadside , vol. 4 no. 1966; (p. 25-26)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
vol.25, no.2 Reviews Maurice Dunlevy , 1966 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 16 July 1966; (p. 11)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
vol.41, no.2 Reviews Judah Waten , 1982 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 14 August 1982; (p. 15)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
vol.42, no.1 Reviews D. English , 1983 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 53 1983; (p. 20-21)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
Untitled 1952 single work review
— Appears in: The Austrovert , no. 6 1952; (p. 7)

— Review of Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
2013 in Lit Mags Jennifer Mills , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Overland (Online) , December 2013;

— Review of Island no. 133 Winter 2013 periodical issue ; Review of Australian Fiction 2012 periodical (119 issues); Meanjin 1940 periodical (301 issues)
Untitled Ben Ball , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: The Times Literary Supplement , 7 March no. 5214 2003; (p. 24-25)
Reviews the first five issues of Meanjin under the editorship of Ian Britain - Vol, 60.4 (2001) - Vol. 61.4.(2002)
Bookmarks : A Frank Exchange with Clem Jason Steger , 2003 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 5 July 2003; (p. 6)
Editors' Statements [Jim Davidson] Jim Davidson , 1981 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October vol. 10 no. 2 1981; (p. 249-252)
Before We Had the Hype Fiona Donnelly , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 20 September 2003; (p. 4-5)
This article discusses Brisbane's alternative cultural history - the artists, musicians and writers from the late 1940s to 1980.
Judith Wright and Meanjin John Carmody , 2003 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , October no. 255 2003; (p. 4)
Survival Struggles Hilary McPhee , 2004 single work biography
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 63 no. 1 2004; (p. 119-125)
Hilary McPhee recalls her time working with Clem Christesen, in the Meanjin office, during the early 1960s.
Vultures on Every Bough Jane Grant , 2004 single work biography
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 63 no. 1 2004; (p. 126-132)
Jane Grant gives an insight into Australian literary history by examining the correspondence between Clem Christesen and Kylie Tennant.
Pink Pundits Fay Woodhouse , 2004 single work biography
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 63 no. 1 2004; (p. 133-137)
Cold Wars and Culture Wars Jane Ellen , 2004 single work biography
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 63 no. 1 2004; (p. 142-146)
Jane Ellen examines the Meanjin Archives.
Little Magazines, Great Divides Dale Campisi , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 63 no. 1 2004; (p. 159-165)
The Second Empire Jim Davidson , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 63 no. 1 2004; (p. 166-171)
Jim Davidson reflects on his time as editor of Meanjin.
In Memoriam : Clement Byrne Christesen (1911-2003) Herbert C. Jaffa , 2003 single work obituary (for C. B. Christesen )
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 17 no. 2 2003; (p. 179)
Time to Dream John McLaren , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 63 no. 1 2004; (p. 114-118)
Examines Clem Christesen's role as editor of Meanjin
Editorial 1997 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 56 no. 3-4 1997; (p. 454-457)
An Interview with Ian Britain, Editor of Meanjin Madeleine Byrne (interviewer), 2004 single work interview
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 18 no. 1 2004; (p. 84-85)
'Meanjin Papers' Wants Controversy James Devaney , 1941 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin Papers , April vol. 1 no. 3 1941; (p. 13)
James Devaney and the Brisbane Resistance to Modernism William Hatherell , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , December vol. 11 no. 2 2004; (p. 25-39)
Literary Sidelights on Wartime Brisbane Patricia Clarke , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , December vol. 11 no. 2 2004; (p. 41-57)
Discusses aspects of literary life in Brisbane and other parts of the country during the Second World War, and some of the interactions between American and Australian writers during that period.
Up and Atom R.L. Rover , 1946 single work criticism
— Appears in: Angry Penguins Broadsheet , no. 2 1946; (p. 15)
This column is an aggressive response to criticism of the Angry Penguins' agenda and output. It also includes a short comment on jazz music on the radio.
Periodicals and the School : Important Adjunct to the Library 1947 single work extract
— Appears in: The Australasian Book News and Literary Journal , September vol. 2 no. 3 1947; (p. 157)

PeriodicalNewspaper Details

ISSN: 0815-953X
ISSN: 1324-1745
ISSN: 0025-6293
Subtitle:
From v. 59.1 (2000) - v.60.3 (2001) has subtitle: Fine Writing and Provocative Ideas
Frequency:
Quarterly
Range:
v.1, no.1 (1940/42) -
Size:
20cm (1940-1950 [8-40pp]; 1975-2000 [130-220 pp]); 24cm (1951-1974 [90-120 pp]; 2001- [app. 230 pp])
Price:
three shillings (1940-1944); two shillings and sixpence (1945-1948); three shillings (1949-1950); five shillings (1951-1954); ten shillings (1955-1958); ten shillings and sixpence 1959- 1964); twelve shillings and sixpence (1965); $1.25 (1966-1970); $1.40 (1971-1972); $2.00 (1973); $2.50 (1974-1976); $3.00 (1977); $3,50 (1978-1980); $4.50 (1981-1983); $5.00 (1984-1987); $6.00 (1988-1989); $7.50 (1990); $8.50 (1991); $10.00 (1991- )
Note:
Many issues have distinctive titles

Has serialised

Stripped, Caroline Lee , 2008-2009 single work novel
Last amended 23 Jan 2015 07:55:29
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