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The Life I Owe single work   autobiography  
Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 The Life I Owe
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'I had two very good chances of never being born, and I suppose I've always been conscious of the fact. Of course there were more than two, as that's the way life is, but two, even when I was quite a young child, were immediately obvious to me. My grandfather served four years with the AIF during the First World War, and saw action in both Belgium and France. His luck (and mine) held, however, for he was in the artillery, and so had some protection against the wholesale slaughter of trench warfare. My father's Second World War was entirely different. Sent to Darwin when the Japanese were bombing it regularly, he later took part in an amphibious assault on Borneo, and became forward scout in the jungle: at one point he walked over an enemy soldier who was hidden in the undergrowth. Although the Pacific War ended in August 1945, my father could have been killed or wounded during the interval afterwards, as enemy soldiers refused to capitulate and kept on fighting for at least another six weeks. he was finally demobbed in February, 1946.'

 (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Southerly The Lives of Others vol. 78 no. 2 2018 16854409 2018 periodical issue “Doesn’t a breath of the air that pervaded earlier days caress us as well? in the voices we hear, isn’t there an echo of now silent ones? ... if so, then there is a secret agreement between past generations and the present one. Then our coming was expected on earth” (Benjamin 390). What does it mean to be in secret agreement with people and places that came before? To recognise that coming after is a matter not just of influence, but also the taking on of certain obligations—for example, to return, to pay tribute, to make amends, to put to rest? for Walter Benjamin the challenge in writing about the past is not to achieve a faithful reconstruction of an earlier period. it is to grasp moments of correspondence between the past and the present that otherwise would fall prey to the ever-present forces of amnesia. nowhere is the call of  Southerly this precarious correspondence more acutely registered than in writings and forms of creative practice that are located in the movement between one generation and the next. it is here that remembrance comes face to face with the unfinished business of people, places and events that demand some-thing of us. 2018 pg. 17-30
Last amended 25 Jun 2019 16:24:50
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