Until recently music has been largely an imported commodity. Most of our musical life centred round the visits to this country of artists from abroad. In other words, it was imposed on, rather than growing within, the community. In order to clarify the present situation, when we are being thrown back entirely on our own resources, let us examine the change that has taken place. For this purpose I bracket all visiting artists, although, naturally, they have differed vastly in the amount each has contributed to musical life here. The fact remains, however, that we have depended on them for […]
Shepparton February 18th, 1904 Dear Mr. Stephens, Sincere thanks for all the contents of your letter. ATHENAEUM man is a heart of oak—no reed shaken by a cat’s paw. And when a critic of such displacement gives me a bit of his mind, something tells me I am scoring heavily off him. I feel as Torquemada used to do whenever some friggling heretic told him he (Tork) was no gentleman. When criticised by an ass, I am conscious of nothing but a great, silent pity, shading off into saintly benevolence. Owing, I suppose, to the “inordinate egotism,” the “intellectual arrogance,” […]
It was indigestble. Enormous sentences unrolled themselves like strips of fly-paper on which the mind dangled bumbling and bewildered. Those sentences were written by a word-intoxicated man, wallowing, positively wallowing, in print. All that magnificent material, all that humour and kindliness and observation, sicklied o’er with the pale cast of an elaborate prose style.
From the Meanjin archives, Kylie Tennant’s ‘Tom Collins’ letter from 1942.
THE next few months may decide not only whether we are to survive as a nation, but whether we deserve to survive. As yet none of our achievements prove it, at any rate in the sight of the outer world. We have no monuments to speak of, no dreams in stone, no Guernicas, no sacred places. We could vanish and leave singularly few signs that, for some generations, there had lived a people who had made a homeland of this Australian Earth. A homeland? To how many people was it primarily that? How many penetrated the soil with their love […]
We meet here to offer a tribute of gratitude and affection to the life and work of one of our most dearly loved Australians. Academic practitioners of letters concern themselves with the appraisal of Henry Lawson. It has been their preoccupation through the years to measure him by standard yardsticks and to lean heavily on sticks wielded by men overseas who have known literature, but sometimes have not known Australia. That is to have only half the numbers on the slate, for it has been demonstrated that a writer here can attain to accepted or current standards in his work […]
Literary history—a blend of biography, bibliography, philosophy, sociology, criticism, flour, soda and cream o’tartar—follows in the wake of literature as inevitably as martial history in the wake of war. Moreover it far-reachingly affects the development of letters, imbuing the impressionable young with a prejudice in favour of such things as are selected to be recorded, applauded and permanently enrolled in the national archives. Hence the literary historian bears a high responsibility towards literature and the nation. Now that a mighty geste of spade-work has been performed by Professor Morris Miller in marshalling in their battalions the pen-men of our first […]
‘Poetry’s unnat’ral; no man ever talked poetry ’cept a beadle on boxin’ day, or Warren’s blackin’ or Rowland’s oil, or some o’ them low fellows; never you let yourself down to talk poetry, my boy.’ But we have disregarded Tony Weller’s advice to his son, Samuel. In an age governed by the stomach-and-pocket view of life, and at a time of war and transition, we still strive to ‘talk poetry’. For we believe that it is our duty to do so. We believe that it would be a grave error to suppose the nation can drop its mental life, its […]