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y separately published work icon The Acolyte single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1972... 1972 The Acolyte
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'It is told in the first person by “the acolyte,” Paul Vesper. The novel traces the career of a fictional Australian musician and composer named Jack Holberg. Beginning in obscurity as a piano player in Grogbusters, a dreary little Queensland town, the blind Holberg eventually gains international recognition as a composer. Vesper, who had met Holberg during his less renowned period, gives up an engineering career to serve the great man—in a sense, to become his eyes. '  (Publication summary)

Exhibitions

Affiliation Notes

  • Writing Disability in Australia:

    See C.A. Cranston's dissertation 'Deformity as Device in the Twentieth-century Australian Novel'.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Angus and Robertson , 1972 .
      image of person or book cover 4805156774665073886.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 158p.
      ISBN: 0207124221

      Holdings

      Held at: Monash University Monash University Library
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Two by Astley : A Kindness Cup and The Acolyte Thea Astley , New York (City) : G. P. Putnam's Sons , 1988 Z116772 1988 selected work novel New York (City) : G. P. Putnam's Sons , 1988 pg. [137]-287
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Penguin ,
      1990 .
      image of person or book cover 2348032779574564749.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 1vp.
      Note/s:
      • Published December 1, 1990

      ISBN: 9780140117844
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Untapped , 2021 .
      image of person or book cover 7551985582603438394.png
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 1v.p.
      ISBN: 9781922749093

Works about this Work

Reading the ‘Gold Coast Symphony’ in Thea Astley’s The Acolyte Alison Bartlett , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , December vol. 26 no. 2 2019; (p. 232-244)

'Thea Astley is a figure who is strongly associated with music, both in her life interests and in her writing rhythms and allusions; this article investigates the uses of music in her 1972 novel The Acolyte. Drawing on a recent genre of critical musicology that understands music to be a social practice, The Acolyte is read in relation to mid-twentieth-century cultural debates around the development of a distinctive Australian classical music. Centring on the blind pianist turned composer Jack Holberg, The Acolyte is grounded in the Gold Coast hinterland as an inspiring and generative landscape, in contrast with the desolate outback favoured in national mythologies. Holberg’s ‘Gold Coast Symphony’, arguably the turning point of the novel, imaginatively writes this coastal fringe of urban debauchery into the vernacular of classical music through its performance in conservative 1960s Brisbane. In this article, I read The Acolyte as a novel positioned within an Australian musicological history that intersects with the poetics of place, the politics of gender and sexuality, and ongoing national formations through cultural production.' (Publication abstract)

Double Trouble : The Teacher/Satirist Duality in Thea Astley’s Critical Writings Kate Cantrell , Lesley Hawkes , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , December vol. 26 no. 2 2019; (p. 218-231)

'Over a fifty-year period, from 1944 to 1994, Thea Astley published a number of critical writings, including essays, newspaper articles and reviews, and short reflections and meditations on her craft. Despite a renewed interest in Astley’s work, however, most critical interrogations of her oeuvre focus on her novels, and more recently her poetry. As a result, Astley’s critical writing has not been afforded the same breadth and depth of investigation as her fiction. This lacuna is troubling, since Astley’s critical works are important not only for their insight, but for what they reveal about Astley’s self-representation, and in particular the dual identity that she embodied as both a teacher and a satirist. This article argues that these dual roles emerge clearly in Astley’s essays and in fact are inextricable from many of her works. Further, the tensions between these two personae — Astley as teacher and Astley as satirist — reveal natural overlaps with her imaginative writing, and reflect her changing ideas about fiction writing, literature, and education.' (Publication abstract)

The Solid Mandala and Patrick White’s Late Modernity Nicholas Birns , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , November vol. 4 no. 1 2011;
'This essay contends that the Australian novelist Patrick White (1912-1990) presents, in his novel The Solid Mandala (1966), a prototypical evocation of late modernity that indicates precisely why and how it was different from the neoliberal and postmodern era that succeeded it. Late modernity is currently emerging as a historical period, though still a nascent and contested one. Robert Hassan speaks of the 1950-1970 era as a period which, in its 'Fordist' mode of production maintained a certain conformity yet held off the commoditisation of later neoliberalism's 'network-driven capitalism'. This anchors the sense of 'late modernity,' that will operate in this essay, though my sense of the period also follows on definitions of the term established, in very different contexts, by Edward Lucie-Smith and Tyrus Miller.' (Author's introduction)
Thea Astley : Writing in Overpoweringly a Male Dominated Literary World Megha Trivedi , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Indian Review of World Literature in English , July vol. 6 no. 2 2010;
This paper is an attempt to explore different themes in the novels of Thea Astley.(p. 1)
Are there Really Angels in Carlton? Australian Literature and Theology Noel Rowe , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ethical Investigations : Essays on Australian Literature and Poetics 2008; (p. 30-59)
Feeding Off Others Laurie Clancy , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 14 October 1972; (p. 17)

— Review of The Acolyte Thea Astley , 1972 single work novel
Thea Astley Aiming at What? Bill Fraser , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 14 October 1972; (p. 15)

— Review of The Acolyte Thea Astley , 1972 single work novel
Critics' Choice Cherry Grimm , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 9 December 1972; (p. 22)

— Review of The Acolyte Thea Astley , 1972 single work novel
Critics' Choice John Douglas Pringle , 1972 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 9 December 1972; (p. 22)

— Review of The Acolyte Thea Astley , 1972 single work novel
From Harvard to Heaven Joan Flanagan , 1980 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 17 May 1980; (p. 23)

— Review of The Acolyte Thea Astley , 1972 single work novel
Thea Astley : Exploring the Centre Paul Genoni , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Subverting the Empire : Explorers and Exploration in Australian Fiction 2004; (p. 97-144)
Grant Winner Wants Only to Write Geraldine Pascall , 1973 single work
— Appears in: The Australian , 11 April 1973; (p. 3)
The Acolyte : Thea Astley (1925-2004) Jane Gleeson-White , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Classics : Fifty Great Writers and Their Celebrated Works 2007; (p. 222-226)
Are there Really Angels in Carlton? Australian Literature and Theology Noel Rowe , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Ethical Investigations : Essays on Australian Literature and Poetics 2008; (p. 30-59)
Thea Astley : Writing in Overpoweringly a Male Dominated Literary World Megha Trivedi , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Indian Review of World Literature in English , July vol. 6 no. 2 2010;
This paper is an attempt to explore different themes in the novels of Thea Astley.(p. 1)
Last amended 6 Dec 2021 15:05:17
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