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y separately published work icon Mixed Bag series - publisher  
Alternative title: Mixed Bag : Early Australian Variety Theatre and Popular Culture Monograph Series
Date: 2011-
Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 Mixed Bag
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Mixed Bag is monograph series which publishes essays focusing on aspects of early Australian variety theatre and popular culture entertainment.


1 (25 June 2011)
y separately published work icon 'For the Duration’: Australian One Act Musical Comedies and the Fashioning of an Imagined National Identity between 1914 and 1918 Clay Djubal , 2011 Z1807086 2011 single work criticism

In this paper Clay Djubal argues that too much weight is invariably given to literature and other "legitimate," non-popular texts by cultural historians and theorists attempting to interrogate aspects of national identity. One particular aberration, he cites, has been the use of The Bulletin as a source for research into late nineteenth and early twentieth century Australia. This magazine, often referred to as "the bushman's bible," must now be viewed as having little relevance to the popular culture demographic, he argues.

In focusing on the pivotal First World War era, Djubal examines the construction of the larrikin comedian on the variety stage (and in particular revusical comedians such as Nat Phillips and Roy Rene (Stiffy and Mo), Bert Le Blanc and Jake Mack (Ike Cohen and Morris Levy), Jim Gerald, Paul Stanhope and others. He also looks at the construction of this character within the pages of popular cultures texts such as variety industry and soldier magazines, as well as mass market publishing phenomena such as C. J. Denis' Songs of the Sentimental Bloke. He proposes that while these texts had much greater relevance to the broader public of the era but have been ignored by contemporary academics because they are seen to have little aesthetic or literary value.

In order for historians and cultural theorists to better understand cultural and national identity, Djubal further argues that they also need to more vigorously interrogate the sources they use - not only the texts but also the authors of those texts. The types of questions he refers to include: 1) was the work written specifically for (and hence did it appeal to) any particular demographic market; 2) were there economic reasons underpinning the approach taken by the author; 3) were the observations made by the author undertaken from an "outside looking in" perspective or from intimate, empirical experiences; 4) what personal issues and biases might the author have had in relation to his subject matter; 5) if based on "real" experiences, how long after the event were these memories recalled; 6) what input did the editor or publisher have in the end result; and 7) how did the work resonate with the broader general population at the time of publication.

2 (25 April 2012)
y separately published work icon Harry Leston : A Versatile Showman Loreley Morling , 2012 Z1856794 1997 single work biography A biographical account of the life and career of one of Australia's most esteemed actors of the mid to late-nineteenth century. 2012
3 (21 September 2017)
y separately published work icon 'Looking in All the Wrong Places'; Or, Harlequin False Testimony and the Bulletin Magazine's Mythical Construction of National Identity, Theatrical Enterprise and the Social World of Little Australia, circa 1880-1920 Clay Djubal , 2017 Z1595853 2009 single work criticism

Published between 1880 and 2008, the Bulletin's crowning years are considered to have been the 1890s, a period also generally regarded as Australia's literary renaissance. During this decade the magazine encouraged a new generation of writers, illustrators, critics and journalists to voice their protest at the dominant literary forms and social attitudes while at the same time promoting strident nationalist sentiments.

The considerable literary reputations established by the Bulletin writers has resulted in the magazine becoming arguably the most commonly cited magazine in the literature pertaining to Australian drama, sociology, politics, journalism and literature between 1880 and the 1920s. However, recent research into pre-1930s Australian popular culture entertainment is beginning to cast much doubt on the methodological approaches taken by historians and social/urban biographers, particularly their reliance on literature as a means of gauging or explaining socio-cultural attitudes.

In this paper Clay Djubal uses the Bulletin as a sample case in order to demonstrate the flaws in a methodology which all too often fails to question the veracity and appropriateness of particular sources in relation to the wider Australian community. The paper further questions the belief that literature and other high art forms of creative expression accurately reflect on or speak for the broader popular culture demographic.


Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 2011

PeriodicalNewspaper Details

ISSN: 1839-5511
Last amended 24 Oct 2017 08:36:53
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