books about Australia and 4
start with W
Wainewright the Poisoner: The Confessions of Thomas Griffiths Wainewright
University of Chicago Press, 2001
Library of Congress PR6063.O842W35 2001 | Dewey Decimal 823.914
Andrew Motion brings all his lyricism and inventiveness to bear in this fictional autobiography of the great swindler, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright. A painter, writer, and friend of Blake, Byron, and Keats, Wainewright was almost certainly a murderer. When he died in a penal colony in Tasmania, he left behind fragments of documents and a beguiling legend which Motion uses to create an imagined confession laced with facts, telling the story as no straightforward history could.
"Thomas Griffiths Wainewright is a dream subject for either novelist or biographer. . . . Andrew Motion, Britain's poet laureate, clearly felt that neither straight biography nor pure fiction would do Wainewright's complexities justice, and so he combined the two genres. The result is stunning. The central voice is that of Wainewright himself, reflecting back on his life. After each chapter Mr. Motion has added detailed notes that inform and flesh out the narrative, giving not only his own informed opinion of Wainewright's actions but also those of Wainewright's contemporaries and the scholars and writers who have studied him over the past two centuries."—Lucy Moore, Washington Times
"Brilliantly innovative, gripping, intricately researched, Motion's biography does justice to its subject at last."—John Carey, The Sunday Times
"Engaging and convincing. . . . The trajectory of this character-from neglected and resentful child to arrogant and envious London dandy to sociopathic murderer on to an enfeebled, frightened prisoner-is indelibly imagined and drawn."—Edmund White, Financial Times
"[A] fascinating look at an evil artist, a charmer still having his way with us. We can hear him being economical with the truth, telling us and himself just what he wants to hear."—Michael Olmert, New Jersey Star Ledger
"Motion crafts a fascinating tale as complex and compelling as if Wainewright himself had written it."—Michael Spinella, Booklist
"Did he kill his servant, and possibly others as well? . . . The footnotes seem to say yes, but Wainewright adamantly argues his own case. Motion's prose is flawless, and Wainewright's voice is convincing. But in the long run, it's this ambiguity that makes Wainewright the Poisoner a fascinating and memorable read."—R.V. Schelde, Sacramento News and Review
"Who could as for a better Romantic villain than Thomas Griffiths Wainewright? . . . [The book] succeeds on many levels: as an act of ventriloquism, a work of scholarship, a psychological study, as a set of sharp portraits of famous men and an engrossing read. . . ."—Polly Shulman, Newsday
"Instead of a straightforward biography, Andrew Motion gives us Wainewright's first person, fictionalized "confession."—a document as circumspect, slyly reticent, and oeaginously smooth as the man himself. Splendid."—John Banville, Literary Review
"A genuine tour de force, and on a non-fictional level, a telling portrait of a strange, intriguing and repellant man."—Brian Fallon, Irish Times
"A marvelous literary hybrid that totters with one foot in the world of nonfiction, the other in the land of make-believe. One is alternatively swept up in Motion's dizzy imaginative pastiche, or sent crashing into a dusty stack of scholarly cogitations. . . ."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"As true a portrait of a liar as its subject could wish. Rich and strange. . . ."—Glasgow Herald
Waltzing the Magpies: A Year in Australia
University of Michigan Press, 2004
Library of Congress PE64.P53A3 2004 | Dewey Decimal 820.9
Praise for Sam Pickering:
"The art of the essay as delivered by Mr. Pickering is the art of the front porch ramble."
---The New York Times Book Review
"Reading Pickering . . . is like taking a walk with your oldest, wittiest friend."
"What a joy it is to 'mess around' with Professor Sam Pickering!"
---The Chattanooga Times
"Pickering is a barefoot observer of the quotidian who revels in the spectacle and its gift for surprise, prefers the rumpled to the starched, has raised puttering and messing about to an art form, and wrings from it more than a pennyworth of happiness and a life well lived."
The movie Dead Poets Society is where most Americans first met Sam Pickering, the University of Connecticut English professor. Robin Williams plays the lead character (loosely based on Pickering), an idiosyncratic instructor who employs some over-the-top teaching methods to keep his subjects fresh and his students learning.
Fewer know that Pickering is the author of more than 16 books and nearly 200 articles, or that he's inspired thousands of university students to think in new ways. And, while Williams may have captured Pickering's madcap classroom antics, he didn't uncover the other side of the author-Sam Pickering as one of our great American men of letters. Like the music of Mozart, the painting of Picasso, or the poetry of Emily Dickinson, you can spot Pickering's writing a mile away; there's no mistaking the Pickering pen. As an ample demonstration of the author's literary gifts, Waltzing the Magpies is his unabashedly lush and Technicolor travelogue from Down Under.
On the face of it, Waltzing is the chronicle of a sabbatical year spent with family in Australia. Yet beneath the surface Pickering's big themes-family, nature, seizing the moment-move in a powerful current that frequently bursts out in moments of ecstatic revelation and intense sensual flourish. Through it all Pickering weaves stories from his fictional Southern town of Carthage, Tennessee, especially when the goings of the outside world get rough.
Waltzing the Magpies is classic Pickering at the height of his literary powers, and places him in the company of such great American essayists as E. B. White and James Thurber, but with an irony and observational prowess that is pure Pickering.
William Hughes: Australia
Haus Publishing, 2010
The First World War marked the emergence of the Dominions on the world stage as independent nations, none more so than Australia. The country's sacrifice at Gallipoli in 1915, and the splendid combat record of Australian troops on the Western Front not only created a national awakening at home, but also put Great Britain in their debt, ensuring them greater influence at the Peace Conferences. Australia was represented at Versailles by the Prime Minister, the colourful Billy Hughes, whom Woodrow Wilson called 'a pestiferous varmint' after their repeated clashes over Australia's claims to the Pacific Islands its troops had taken from Germany during the War. Hughes was also the most vociferous (though by no means at all the only) opponent of the racial equality clause put forward by Japan. Indeed, it was fear of Japanese expansion that drove Australia's territorial demands in the Pacific.
A World of Fiction: Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History
University of Michigan Press, 2018
Library of Congress PR9605.2+ | Dewey Decimal 809.3034
During the 19th century, throughout the Anglophone world, most fiction was first published in periodicals. In Australia, newspapers were not only the main source of periodical fiction, but the main source of fiction in general. Because of their importance as fiction publishers, and because they provided Australian readers with access to stories from around the world—from Britain, America and Australia, as well as Austria, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, and beyond—Australian newspapers represent an important record of the transnational circulation and reception of fiction in this period.
Investigating almost 10,000 works of fiction in the world’s largest collection of mass-digitized historical newspapers (the National Library of Australia’s Trove database), A World of Fiction reconceptualizes how fiction traveled globally, and was received and understood locally, in the 19th century. Katherine Bode’s innovative approach to the new digital collections that are transforming research in the humanities are a model of how digital tools can transform how we understand digital collections and interpret literatures in the past.