'Often, but not always, about books, writers and writing.'
AustLit content only indexed.
Film adaptations of P. L. Travers' 1934 novel Mary Poppins offer particular interpretations of Travers' fictional character, but do they reflect the author's original manifestation of the erstwhile English nanny?
This blog post examines the inspiration behind the physical portrayal (drawn by Mary Shepard) of Travers' fictional character as well as the behaviours, characteristics and philosophies exhibited by Mary Poppins in the first of the six Mary Poppins story collections.
'Writers of fantasy fiction create not just characters and plots for their novels, they imagine whole new worlds. Worlds with unique geographies and climates; technologies and customs; and even, on occasion, languages ...
'In addition to these tangible elements, fantasy authors need to envision the moral framework that governs their created world and the values that underpin it. What principles will determine issues of right and wrong, of justice, of the exercise of power? Will their world operate within the boundaries of a belief system? Will myths and stories from the imagined world’s past (or from other, known worlds) influence the present?
'In Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Jessica Townsend begins to reveal the world she has created for her debut series.'
'Kate Forsyth’s Beauty in Thorns begins with an exchange between two of the novel’s major characters – Georgiana (Georgie) Macdonald and the man she will later marry, Edward (Ned) Burne-Jones. Their conversation centres on the tale of Sleeping Beauty.
'The fairy story is key to Forsyth’s narrative. As the novel unfolds, Ned paints the beautiful princess over and over again. First, it is Georgie who poses as the sleeping beauty; then, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Siddal. Later still, Ned’s mistress Maria Zambaco plays the part; and, finally, his daughter Margot poses for Ned’s Briar Rose series.
'Women. Beauty. Art. Motifs that repeat in the novel like a William Morris wallpaper.'
English author, G. A. Henty, wrote over 90 books - largely of the 'boys-own-adventure' variety. His books were widely read throughout the Australian colonies and appeared in serialised form in many colonial newspapers, especially during the 1890s.
One of Henty's titles, A Final Reckoning, is set predominantly in colonial New South Wales. In this book, 'Henty uses localised colonial terms such as ‘squatter’, ‘ticket-of-leave’, ‘bushranger’, ‘native tracker’ and ‘black gin’. There is [also] a variation of the classic children’s ‘lost in the bush’ tale.'
An overview of Australian children's books (fiction, autobiography and biography) about rugby league. Most titles mentioned were published between 2010 and 2016.
An overview of the life of Derwent Moultrie Coleridge (grandson of Samuel Taylor Coleridge).
Derwent Moultrie Coleridge migrated to South Australia in 1851 following a less than illustrious student career at both Oxford and Cambridge universities. He worked at various jobs in South Australia before joining the police force in Victoria and later took up teaching roles at Geelong Grammar School and Brighton Park School.
After a brief sojourn in England, Coleridge took up a position at St Mark’s Collegiate School in Sydney. During the 1860s and 1870s, some of Coleridge's poetry was published in colonial newspapers. (It was also during this period that his propensity for drunkenness saw him incarcerated in Darlinghurst Gaol.)
Coleridge tried his hand at acting in the 1870s, but his name appeared in newspapers more often for petty criminal offences than for his prowess on the stage. Coleridge died in December 1880 and is buried at Rookwood Cemetery.
An overview of Australian children's books (fiction and autobiography) about Australian Rules football. The overview covers titles published up to and including 2016.
An extract from Adam Lindsay Gordon’s ‘Ye Wearie Wayfarer’ appeared regularly in the autograph books of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Australian children. The often quoted extract was:
'Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.'
Wooldridge recalls her childhood reading habits. She remembers, in particular, her fondness for Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.
In her 2015 Ray Mathew Lecture, novelist and essayist Andrea Goldsmith refers to W. H. Auden’s poem, ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’. The poem entered Goldsmith’s consciousness ‘in the very early days of the novel that would become, Reunion’ and she decided, ‘for reasons unrelated to the nascent work’, to memorise Auden’s poem. Once she had memorised it, she ‘would lie awake at night, silently reciting it over and over, thereby thwarting other more disturbing and anarchic thoughts’.
It was not until long after Goldsmith had finished Reunion that she became aware of the way Auden’s poem had ‘fed into’ her novel—the main characters of her narrative, a quartet of friends, had each turned away ‘quite leisurely’ from the various disasters of their lives.
This column reflects on Goldsmith's experience and the now, largely out-of-fashion, practice of memorising poetry.
(Note: the quotes above are from Goldsmith's lecture. The lecture, 'Private Passions, Public Exposure', is available on the website of the National Library of Australia.)