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Necromancy and piety, John O’Leary

A Blighted Fame: George S Evans 1802-1868, A Life
Helen Riddiford
Victoria University Press, $60.00,
ISBN 9780864738967

For Gallant Service Rendered: The Life & Times of Samuel Austin
Barbara Mabbett
Steele Roberts, $35.00,
ISBN 9781877577710

Biography is a strange genre, despite our familiarity with it. There’s something uncanny about it, in that it’s a kind of necromancy – a raising of the dead, so to speak. It can also be an act of piety, a way of honouring those who have passed on – an assertion, in the face of oblivion, that an individual’s life had meaning and significance. Piety of this kind lies behind the two books reviewed here, which describe the lives of two colonial New Zealanders who have slipped into the historical twilight.

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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Small shoes; small reviews: media treatment of children’s literature, Barbara Mabbett

It is a truth universally acknowledged that value of labour is associated with size of client: children’s nurses and teachers, for instance, are almost always paid less that those who nurse or teach people whose shoes and wallets are somewhat

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Posted in Comment

Wincing and reading on, Barbara Mabbett

Style Book: a guide for New Zealand writers and editors Derek Wallace and Janet Hughes, (revised and expanded) GP Publications, $29.95 ISBN 1 86956 123 6 The word “style”, occupying as it does several columns of the Big Oxford, can be

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Posted in Language, Non-fiction, Review

Comprehensive, practical and well‑informed, Barbara Mabbett

School Textbooks published in New Zealand to 1960 Hugh Price, Dunmore Press with Gondwanaland Press, $33 In introducing this bibliography, Hugh Price modestly invites us to recognise the ‘good case’ for adding educational book publishers, to the teacher-student, relationship that

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Posted in Education, Non-fiction, Review
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