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Grudging nationalist, Mark Williams

Charles Brasch: Journals 1945-1957
Peter Simpson (ed)
Otago University Press, $60.00,
ISBN 9781927322284

I approached this book rather in the spirit of someone visiting a civic monument to a figure august and admired, but obscurely known. In the late 1980s, as one of the many editors of Landfall in that period, I spent time in the Caxton Press checking proofs, following a tradition of care established by Charles Brasch 40 years earlier. But the strong ghosts I recall in a building filled with reminders of eminence were those of Janet Frame, whose visits and material remnants still held occult power, and Robin Dudding, veiled in a scandalous story that I gathered had more than one way of telling. Brasch’s presence was fainter somehow, less detectable in the busy workings of the printing house that had hosted him and sacked his heir, Dudding.

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

The quality question, Chris Else

The Auckland University Press Anthology of New Zealand Literature Jane Stafford and Mark Williams (eds) Auckland University Press, $75.00, ISBN 9781869405892 I have a conflict of interest here: I am one of those writers with a substantial body of published

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Posted in Literature, Review

Bovver boys

What they wrote A taste of contributor comments over our first 20 years   On New Zealand Books My hope is that New Zealand Books will provide a forum for frank discussion that dares to rise above the suffocating confines

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Posted in Comment

Fiction’s odd couple, Mark Williams

Gifted  Patrick Evans Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780864736376   A curious rumour about this new novel by Patrick Evans preceded its publication. The rumour was that Evans had done something exceptionally good and it came from people one didn’t

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Rivers, repetition and reproaches

Mark Williams re-assesses his position on Ihimaera’s borrowings and reworkings. Reviewing a book on modernism by C K Stead in Landfall in 1986, Ken Ruthven revived the old saw that one cannot step in the same river twice, meaning that

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Murry’s Mansfield, Mark Williams

Katherine Mansfield’s Short Stories Vintage, $35.00, ISBN 9781869419837 The death of an author might seem to close the book, establishing a final and complete version of the work. In the case of Katherine Mansfield this has been spectacularly not the

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories

Dear Miss Williams, Mark Williams

Critic and literary historian Mark Williams describes how he learnt to love his feminine side Adolescents commonly write poetry, but they write poems to themselves rather than for an audience. If they write for others, it is usually to interest

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Lost writers revisited, Elizabeth Webby

Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872-1914   Jane Stafford and Mark Williams Victoria University Press, $39.95, ISBN 0864735227 In this excellent reassessment of an important phase of New Zealand’s literary and cultural history, Jane Stafford and Mark Williams challenge previous views

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Posted in History, Literature, Māori, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

The operative words, Rae McGregor

Writing at the Edge of the Universe ed Mark Williams Canterbury University Press, $34.95, ISBN 1877257311 I wonder if Patrick Evans realised, when he wrote that salty article about students from Bill Manhire’s Victoria University creative writing programme (New Zealand

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Posted in Education, Non-fiction, Review

Frame with a lighter hand, Mark Williams

Book Book  Fiona Farrell Vintage, $26.95, ISBN 1869416198 I associate being in Christchurch with knowing Fiona Farrell. Both of us came down from provincial North Island cities, Hamilton and Palmerston North, in the early 1990s. I came to teach in

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review
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