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On Turning Slightly Sepia single work   prose  
Issue Details: First known date: 1970... 1970 On Turning Slightly Sepia
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Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon The World of Charmian Clift Charmian Clift , Sydney : Ure Smith , 1970 Z125102 1970 selected work prose humour Sydney : Ure Smith , 1970 pg. 48-51
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Charmian Clift : Selected Essays Charmian Clift , Nadia Wheatley (editor), Pymble : HarperCollins Australia , 2001 Z925681 2001 selected work prose biography Pymble : HarperCollins Australia , 2001 pg. 164-168
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Sneaky Little Revolutions : Selected Essays of Charmain Clift Charmian Clift , Nadia Wheatley (editor), Sydney : NewSouth Publishing , 2022 23617329 2022 selected work essay

    '‘I know it’s a daring suggestion, but I’ll make it anyway.’

    'Charmian Clift was a writer ahead of her time. Lyrical and fearless, her essays seamlessly the personal and the political.

    'In 1964, Charmian Clift and her husband George Johnston returned to Australia after living and writing for many years in the cosmopolitan community of artists on the Greek island of Hydra. Back in Sydney, Clift found her opinions were far more progressive than those of many of her fellow Australians.

    'This new edition of Charmian Clift’s essays, selected and introduced by her biographer Nadia Wheatley, are drawn from the weekly newspaper column Clift wrote through the turbulent and transformative years of the 1960s. In these ‘sneaky little revolutions’, as Clift once called them, she supported the rights of women and migrants, called for social justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, opposed conscription and the war in Vietnam, acknowledged Australia’s role in the Asia-Pacific, fought censorship, called for an Australian film industry — and much more. In doing so, she set a new benchmark for the form of the essay in Australian literature.'

    Source: Publisher's blurb.

    Sydney : NewSouth Publishing , 2022
    pg. 173-177

Works about this Work

Charmain Clift and George Johnston, Hydra 1960 : The 'Lost' Photographs of James Burke Paul Genoni , Tanya Dalziell , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 73 no. 1 2014; (p. 18-37)

'In one of her many essays, Charmian Clift writes of the melancholic experience of feeling like a photograph. She has been asked to address a group of students at Wollongong High School, a school she had attended, and in preparing her speech she turns to a photograph that appears in the school's fiftieth-anniversary commemorative booklet. The photograph depicts a class from Clift's time at the school, 'formally posed with the boys lined up behind the girls and their hands resting on the girls' shoulders' ('On Turning slightly Sepia', p. 48 (see References below)), and as photographs do it evokes in Clift's memory small details that are not evidenced in the image itself: 'I can still see one of those girls arched in a perfect swallow dive, and remember precisely a collar of little pearl buttons on a blue crepe dress that another of them wore to an end-of-term dance that year'(48). The photograph also prompts Clift to consider how different her teenage circumstances were from those of the students she is to speak to, their faces shining with the confidence that faith in the goodness of the future affords. Before those faces now momentarily turned to her, she thinks of herself as the past, and wonders, 'if they realized that standing up before them I knew myself to be curling at the edges and turning slightly sepia' (51).' (Publication abstract)

Charmain Clift and George Johnston, Hydra 1960 : The 'Lost' Photographs of James Burke Paul Genoni , Tanya Dalziell , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 73 no. 1 2014; (p. 18-37)

'In one of her many essays, Charmian Clift writes of the melancholic experience of feeling like a photograph. She has been asked to address a group of students at Wollongong High School, a school she had attended, and in preparing her speech she turns to a photograph that appears in the school's fiftieth-anniversary commemorative booklet. The photograph depicts a class from Clift's time at the school, 'formally posed with the boys lined up behind the girls and their hands resting on the girls' shoulders' ('On Turning slightly Sepia', p. 48 (see References below)), and as photographs do it evokes in Clift's memory small details that are not evidenced in the image itself: 'I can still see one of those girls arched in a perfect swallow dive, and remember precisely a collar of little pearl buttons on a blue crepe dress that another of them wore to an end-of-term dance that year'(48). The photograph also prompts Clift to consider how different her teenage circumstances were from those of the students she is to speak to, their faces shining with the confidence that faith in the goodness of the future affords. Before those faces now momentarily turned to her, she thinks of herself as the past, and wonders, 'if they realized that standing up before them I knew myself to be curling at the edges and turning slightly sepia' (51).' (Publication abstract)

Last amended 28 Sep 2022 07:30:16
Subjects:
  • Wollongong, Wollongong area, Illawarra, South Coast, New South Wales,
  • ca. 1937
  • ca. 1964
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