y Quadrant periodical  
Date: 1956-1963
Date: 1964-1967
Date: 1967-1974
Date: 1975-1976
Date: 1977-1978
Date: 1978-1981
Date: 1981-1982
Date: 1983-1988
Date: 1988-1990
Date: 1990-1994
Date: 1994-1997
Date: 1998-2007
Date: 2008-
Issue Details: First known date: 1957; Latest issue indexed: 2016 1957
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Soon after the end of World War Two, a group of well-known intellectuals, writers and scientists gathered to found the International Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF). The organisation was established to build an organisation that would protect freedoms, liberties and creativity against a number of perceived threats, particularly Communism. To support the intellectual program of the CCF, magazines were established in several countries: Encounter (England); Preuves (France), Der Monat (Germany) and Quest (India). Richard Krygier was encouraged by the editor of Encounter to establish a similar kind of magazine in Australia. In January 1956 the CCF endorsed a proposal for an Australian magazine put forward by the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom. The poet James McAuley was appointed foundation editor and the first quarterly issue appeared during the Australian summer of 1956.

McAuley was Catholic, anti-communist, anti-modernist and brought to the editorial chair a strong belief that politics and culture should remain separate. In the first twenty years many poets appeared in the pages of Quadrant, the most frequent including McAuley, Evan Jones, Gwen Harwood, Rosemary Dobson, R. A. Simpson, Vincent Buckley, A. D. Hope, Thomas Shapcott, Charles Higham and Chris Wallace-Crabbe. McAuley admitted that his preference for traditional European forms against modernist poetics may have limited his role as a poetry editor. Nevertheless, Quadrant's support of Australian poetry remains a significant achievement. This support has continued to the present day with the assistance of several poetry editors, including Vivian Smith (1977-1989) and Les Murray (1990- ). Many of Australia's best poets have appeared in the pages of Quadrant since the 1970s, the most prolific including John Blight, Gary Catalano, Hal Colebatch, W. Hart-Smith, Geoff Page, Andrew Lansdown, Alan Gould, Bruce Dawe and Peter Kocan.


Although poetry has dominated the literary pages of Quadrant, fiction has received significant attention with more than five hundred and fifty stories published since 1956, the majority appearing since 1980. Contributors in the 1960s and early 1970s included Patrick White]m), Xavier Herbert, Hal Porter, Dal Stivens, Elizabeth Jolley and Frank Moorhouse. The late 1970s and 1980s saw a new wave of writers who have since established significant literary careers. These writers include Garry Disher, Robert Dessaix, Marion Halligan, Nicholas Jose, Tim Winton, Kate Grenville and Murray Bail.

James McAuley was editor of Quadrant until his death in 1976. During this time he was assisted by a number of co-editors and associates. Donald Horne's term (1964-67) brought a stronger international focus with a number of contributors from overseas. There were fewer articles on Australian authors and McAuley's views on literature were not as apparent as in earlier issues. Quadrant returned to the balance of literary and political material similar to its first eight years when Peter Coleman was appointed co-editor in 1967. During the next decade, the magazine maintained a loyal readership, but did not increase its circulation significantly. When McAuley died Peter Coleman acted as editor for a brief period before Elwyn Lynn began his term, leading Quadrant into the 1980s. Vivian Smith, who was appointed literary editor in 1977, continued in this position throughout the 1980s.

Peter Coleman guided Quadrant through most of the 1980s. Some commentators (including former Quadrant editorial staff) have argued that, without the strong foe for which the magazine was established, Quadrant lost focus in the 1980s and adopted a much more negative tone with articles that lacked the intellectual rigour of the past. Coleman and others dispute this suggestion, but, regardless, circulation dropped and the editorial board was forced to consider changes.

Robert Manne was appointed editor in 1990 and gradually shifted attention to issues unfamiliar to the pages of Quadrant. Manne printed articles on Aboriginal issues such as the 'stolen generation' and land rights, and supported significant critiques of economic rationalism. To many readers and members of the editorial board, these changes were unacceptable. In 1997, after receiving a strong letter of condemnation from Les Murray, Manne met with the Editorial Board to request Murray's removal. Manne was unable to find support, and, coupled with the growing lack of support for his editorial decisions, he tabled his resignation. Manne was replaced by Paddy McGuinness in 1998. At the time, McGuinness criticised the 'academic conformity' that had taken over magazines (he identified Meanjin in particular) and promised that their would be no 'sacred cows' in his Quadrant.

Notes

  • RANGE: 1956-
  • FREQUENCY: Quarterly (1956-1964); Bi-monthly (1965-1974); nine issues [became monthly in June] (1975); monthly (1976-1978); Eleven issues per year [double issue for January-February] (1979-1983, 1985); Ten issues per year [double issue for January-February and July-August] (1984, 1986- )
  • SIZE: 20cm, app. 100 pages (1956-1963); 24cm, app. 80pp (1964- )
  • PRICE: 4 shillings (1956-1959); 5 shillings (1964-1966); 50 cents (1967); 75 cents (1968-1971); $1 (Nov 1972-Oct 1975); $2 October 1976- 1978); $3 (1979-1983); $3.50 (1984-Nov 1986); $4 (Dec 1986-1991); $5 (1992-1996); $5.50 (1997); $6 (1998- June 2000); $6.50 (Jul 2000-2001); $7 (2002)
  • Selected material published within the Quadrant magazine is available on line. An archive of back issues is also available. See the Quadrant website at http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/archives (sighted 10/11/2008).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1957

Works about this Work

Quadrant Calls Australia Council Funding Loss a Leftist 'Act of Revenge' Amanda Meade , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 16 May 2016;
Those Old Subversive Starvation Box Blues Joe Dolce , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: Quadrant , October vol. 59 no. 10 2015; (p. 80-82)
The Fine Art of Survival Nigel Featherstone , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 2 March 2013; (p. 6)
Anti the Anti : An Introduction to Quadrant Joe Dolce , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: Quadrant , June vol. 56 no. 6 2012; (p. 111-112)
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)
Quadrant Hoaxer Reveals Herself 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 9 January 2009; (p. 20)
Holding up the Mirror; Windschuttle, Me, and the Provocateur on Trial Katherine Wilson , 2009 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin , Winter vol. 68 no. 2 2009; (p. 42-50)
Growing Content James Bradley , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Australian Literary Review , December vol. 4 no. 11 2009; (p. 24-25)
James Bradley tracks the history of some of Australia's best known literary magazines as well as some late twentieth and early twenty-first century offerings. He notes the growing online presence of these journals, suggesting that this presence 'contains a vision of the future of the literary magazine, one that is inextricably bound up in the development of devices such as the Kindle and Apple's as-yet-unseen e-reader'.
Bias Alleged in Fund Cut to Journal Mary-Anne Toy , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 22 December 2009; (p. 3) The Age , 22 December 2009; (p. 5)
The History Wars Robert Manne , 2009 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly , November no. 51 2009; (p. 79)
'Paul Keating and John Howard were early players in what Australians have come to call the History Wars, whose main field of battle is the bitter and still unresolved cultural struggle over the nature of the Indigenous dispossession and the place it should assume in Australian self-understanding.'
A Beacon in Safe Hands Christopher Pearson , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 5-6 January 2008; (p. 24)
As Paddy McGuinness's term as Quadrant's editor ends and Keith Windschuttle's begins, Christopher Pearson considers the journal's 'recent achievements and its role in the future'.
Sorry Business : The Road to the Apology Robert Manne , 2008 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly , March no. 32 2008; (p. 22-31)
Discusses events in recent Australian history leading up to the apology given to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders delivered by Kevin Rudd on 13 February 2008 at the opening of Parliament in Canberra.
It includes discussion of the Bringing Them Home Report on the Stolen Generations and how this polarised members of the editorial board of Quadrant. In this essay, Robert Manne, who was a supporter of the report, writes about his decision to resign from Quadrant 'It became clear that for half the board, the way the magazine had treated Aboriginal matters raised serious questions about my suitability to edit a conservative cultural magazine.' (p.25).
On Quadrant and Robert Manne Paul James , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Arena Magazine , June-July no. 95 2008; (p. 18)
Why Do I Read Quadrant? Don Aitkin , 2007 single work essay
— Appears in: AQ : Australian Quarterly , January-February vol. 79 no. 1 2007; (p. 9-16)
New Quadrant Chief Will Give No Quarter Bernard Lane , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 24 October 2007; (p. 3)
y On How I Came to Write the Lucky Country Donald Horne , Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2006 Z1243376 2006 extract autobiography (Into The Open) This extract focuses on the formative years of Donald Horne leading up to the writing of The Lucky Country.
Quadrant's 50th Year Paddy McGuinness , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: Quadrant , March vol. 50 no. 3 2006; (p. 4)
An Inteview with Peter Coleman Frank Devine (interviewer), 2006 single work interview
— Appears in: Quadrant , May vol. 50 no. 5 2006; (p. 48)
In October 2006, Quadrant celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its first issue. This article examines the changes which the magazine has undergone during these fifty years with special focus on the editorship of Peter Coleman.
Quadranters Inhabit Another Planet Matt Price , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 7-8 October 2006; (p. 19)
Dollar is Larger Than Liberty Marco Fante , 2006 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Australian , 11 October 2006; (p. 17)
A Literary Survivor Edmund Campion , 1989 single work column
— Appears in: Fremantle Arts Review , September vol. 4 no. 9 1989; (p. 10-11)
A Soviet Writers' Centre? Nyet, Comrade! Irina Dunn , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: Newswrite : The NSW Writers' Centre Magazine , May no. 137 2004; (p. 5)
Dunn responds to McGuinness's accusation that the New South Wales Writers' Centre is 'akin to the model of the old Soviet Wrtiers' Union -- and quite as political.' McGuinness's claim was contained in his editorial in Quadrant vol.48 no.4, April 2004, p.3
Paranoia, Surveillance and Literary Politics Ian Syson , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Running Wild : Essays, Fictions and Memoirs Presented to Michael Wilding 2004; (p. 267-274)

Syson investigates the background to recent attempts by right-wing journalists, historians and intellectuals (mainly in Quadrant and the Courier-Mail) to discredit some former sympathisers with socialism and communism, such as Manning Clark and Henry Reynolds. This leads to a more general discussion of the representation of Australia's history, the role Quadrant, the CIA and the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom have played in it, and the continuing impact of the Cold War on Australian politics and culture.

y On How I Came to Write the Lucky Country Donald Horne , Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2006 Z1243376 2006 extract autobiography (Into The Open) This extract focuses on the formative years of Donald Horne leading up to the writing of The Lucky Country.
Quadrant's 50th Year Paddy McGuinness , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: Quadrant , March vol. 50 no. 3 2006; (p. 4)
Australia's New Left Mark Jordan , 1960 single work review
— Appears in: Prospect , vol. 3 no. 3 1960; (p. 28)
This review of Alan Barcan's The Socialist Left in Australia 1949-1959 includes mention of the political leanings of literary magazines.
An Inteview with Peter Coleman Frank Devine (interviewer), 2006 single work interview
— Appears in: Quadrant , May vol. 50 no. 5 2006; (p. 48)
In October 2006, Quadrant celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its first issue. This article examines the changes which the magazine has undergone during these fifty years with special focus on the editorship of Peter Coleman.
Quadranters Inhabit Another Planet Matt Price , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 7-8 October 2006; (p. 19)
Dollar is Larger Than Liberty Marco Fante , 2006 single work correspondence
— Appears in: The Australian , 11 October 2006; (p. 17)
Fifty Years of Quadrant Paddy McGuinness , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: Quadrant , October vol. 50 no. 10 2006; (p. 2-4)
A Tribute to Quadrant John Winston Howard , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Quadrant , November vol. 50 no. 11 2006; (p. 22-24)
Fifty Years in the Front Line Peter Coleman , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Quadrant , November vol. 50 no. 11 2006; (p. 26-27)
Winning the Peace? : Rewriting Quadrant's Past Michael Ackland , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Overland , Spring no. 184 2006; (p. 18-22)
The Usual Suspects : Quadrant at Fifty Martin Krygier , 2006-2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Monthly , December-January no. 19 2006-2007; (p. 24-32)
Why Do I Read Quadrant? Don Aitkin , 2007 single work essay
— Appears in: AQ : Australian Quarterly , January-February vol. 79 no. 1 2007; (p. 9-16)
[Untitled] John McLaren , 1997 single work correspondence
— Appears in: Famous Reporter , June no. 15 1997; (p. 14-15)
New Quadrant Chief Will Give No Quarter Bernard Lane , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 24 October 2007; (p. 3)
A Beacon in Safe Hands Christopher Pearson , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 5-6 January 2008; (p. 24)
As Paddy McGuinness's term as Quadrant's editor ends and Keith Windschuttle's begins, Christopher Pearson considers the journal's 'recent achievements and its role in the future'.
Sorry Business : The Road to the Apology Robert Manne , 2008 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly , March no. 32 2008; (p. 22-31)
Discusses events in recent Australian history leading up to the apology given to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders delivered by Kevin Rudd on 13 February 2008 at the opening of Parliament in Canberra.
It includes discussion of the Bringing Them Home Report on the Stolen Generations and how this polarised members of the editorial board of Quadrant. In this essay, Robert Manne, who was a supporter of the report, writes about his decision to resign from Quadrant 'It became clear that for half the board, the way the magazine had treated Aboriginal matters raised serious questions about my suitability to edit a conservative cultural magazine.' (p.25).
On Quadrant and Robert Manne Paul James , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Arena Magazine , June-July no. 95 2008; (p. 18)

PeriodicalNewspaper Details

ISSN: 0033-5002
Last amended 21 Aug 2013 09:42:30
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