This book was very largely unknown ie. NOT AT ALL !!! when I bought it. Unknown to ME that is, having NEVER heard of its subject or of his supposed ri This book was very largely unknown ie. NOT AT ALL !!! when I bought it. Unknown to ME that is, having NEVER heard of its subject or of his supposed riddle. However his times, his Irish history, his Australian connections and those who peopled it were peripheral to me; big personalities of minor interest and faint echoes in my life. But it had the appeal of a smogasbord...and I was quite prepared to expand my vision and satisfy my appetite.
The book itself was a handsome, solid production by the National Library of Australia with six inserts of intriguing historical photographs, ranging from the 1880's until the subject's tragic accident in 1954 which led to his eventual death. His biographer had been, as a child, a witness to Father Hackett's early days in Australia, but it was over 50 years after his death that she set out to justify to herself the task of the writing of his story and his times.
This justification is presented in the first chapter. A unique device I have never encountered in any biography. Is he worth writing about ??? Another of these minor characters of History who were involved in Major events with Major characters and may have been Major himself and not just by association. We are ALL players on the Stage of Life. But what role we have can be thrust on us, be an accident of birth, can be chosen and moulded largely by ourselves or we may be a witness only. We are here to be a witness to William Hackett, his family, his times, his surroundings ...we will be judges ourselves as Brenda Niall presents her case !!!
We meet his family - parents, three sisters and five brothers - his siblings who all became estranged from the Catholic Church in the early 1890's due to their Father's support of Parnell and his thus falling foul of the Irish Clergy. William himself had decided to become a Jesuit priest. However this never meant any estrangement from his siblings then or later. He was never to see them again after he was sent to Australia in 1922, an event that may have occurred to protect him from his involvement with radical Irish supporters of Home Rule. Many were to be executed in Dublin by the British after his departure. Surviving letters are both moving and brave, grieving and unforgettable. His life in Australia, lived mainly in Melbourne, shows a man who never stopped seeing th ejoys in Life, who always found something to unite him with the huge variety of people he encountered,...for example he knew and befriended 3 consecutive Australian Prime Ministers. What was it about Hackett that inspired such strong, lasting affection?He was generous with his time and his empathy with a huge variety of people and seldom could any differences come between them. And nothing syrupy about him. He lived a passionate life in every facet of it.
In her final summation, Brenda Niall asks of herself...and of us, the readers who have been exposed too this charming , humorous, passionate, very involved man who ranged across a huge range of people easily, without bias or prejudice, where differences did not get in the way of depth of friendship, lasting friendships. I felt as if I had missed out myself. Brenda writes: I think of the certainty of the beliefs he lived by, allied with tolerance of the uncertainties and unbelief of others. She quotes an author of one of his main characters...he discerns "a heightened sensitivity to the promises of life...an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness which I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again." So wrote Scott Fitzgerald of his character Gatsby. ...more
...time that someone wrote about this Tudor Queen AND in detail !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Stran IT'S ABOUT TIME !!!!!!
...time that someone wrote about this Tudor Queen AND in detail !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Strange Thing perhaps is that it has already been done; AND years ago....1942 to be precise....yes,1942 !!?? and one soon realises that ALL the INFORMATION has been lying around since her life ended so bitterly and cruelly in 1536.
AND why ????? WHY this Neglect !!???
Well, compared with her husband Henry VIII, Katherine was and always will be a MINOR Character in the Annals of History. BUT this does not mean that she, her life and actions are not of any interest. This book proves quite the contrary. Her life and her behaviour are rivetting to say the least. Her beliefs and passions, her heroism and plain Guts are something of which women should be proud; an example to inspire and to take courage from !
Minor Characters do not have to live Minor Lives.
Thankfully Garrett Mattingly took up the Lady's Cause some time ago. Perhaps there were Others before him ? There were certainly many documents that he was able to draw on and which many haven't bothered with, or many knew of but were avidly only looking at Major Characters. These documents were mostly contemperonaeous with Katherine. So it is not as if information was scarce. And Katherine had much support from the People of England in the major battle of her Life which she fought with Great Heroism and Courage.
This was a woman who while her Kingly Husband was waging war on the Continent, was quite able to take over the rule of England. And when the Scots saw this as a Golden Opportunity to invade England from the North. Katherine led her troops and not only put an end to this Backdoor Treachery, but defeated the Scots so soundly that their King James was one of its victims. She was also to save England from civil war. No Ordinary lady.......indeed !!
This is a fascinating and gripping story teaching us that a Minor Character can have a Major Life.
Just did a REread of these two wonderful books under the Title "The Days Were Too Short" which captures the Nostalgia of their subject without any maw Just did a REread of these two wonderful books under the Title "The Days Were Too Short" which captures the Nostalgia of their subject without any mawkish sentimentality ...and therein lies their strength, while retaining charm and humour and sorrow. A brilliant recounting of Provencal Lives and a Childhood.
THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS RAVE !!!!
I read these two books under the One Title of "The Days Were Too Short" in the early 1960's. Marcel Pagnol wrote and had them published in 1957 when he was 62 years old. He died in 1975 having written two more books about his Provencal Childhood. I was surprised to discover recently that the books were originally written for children and were quite brief...having read the first 20 pages I have my doubts about this!!! The English Title really picks up on the heavy Nostalgic Feel that these books convey, very probably not to children who are too young to be 'nostalgic', but with adults this aspect of a Lost Past has absolutely WOWED them. AND me !!! And Unashamedly so. One has only to read the reviews here and Everyone is totally besotted even though Most of Us never had a Provencal Childhood; but we all had....a Childhood !!...and somehow they were all touched by a Magic of some kind. Innocence, first experiences, gullibility, naivety, first happinesses and first griefs... all are Common yet Unique - the environments, the families, the times, the child etc. A Lost World...and Life will never have that magic again. I haven't read them since the 60's, but I have NEVER forgotten them. Mine were condensed by Reader's Digest...as if they weren't short enough !!! BUT I have NEVER let that book go. It was something very precious to me and still is. It has followed me around and always found its niche on my Bookshelves. The memory of it is painful as well as delightful...that is because of the 'nostalgia' of course. I could feel it in the reviews...and I read ALL of them. Two films, named for the first two books - My Father's Glory" and "My Mother's Castle"- were released around 1990 accompanied by very evocative music. Of course I saw them, as I'm sure any Fan of the books would have as soon as they became aware of them...you see, we were actually ADDICTED....and still are I bet!! Happily addicted, which is what addicton is all about surely. In a way I dread having to read them again...will I survive another exposure ??
It is evident in every chapter; whether the person is talking to themselves; or to a group of imagined f What makes this a Superior book is the Research.
It is evident in every chapter; whether the person is talking to themselves; or to a group of imagined friends; to their psychotherapist; their husband; their sister; their lover; a famed poet...etc. And every chapter contains Conversation/s...a rare jewel these days, when most people DON'T listen and most conversations from the Mobile Broadcasters has me fleeing train or bus rather than missing my stop to find out 'What Happened Next', whereas many a book I've had my nose in has DONE JUST THAT !!!!
The book's FULL title is ..."Adeline....A Novel Of Virginia Woolf" This is intriguing in Itself. For me, it gave more insight into VW than most straight biographies ever could. And I've read Much about the Bloomsbury Group.
Norah Vincent has read the journals, letters and autobiographical works of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, as well as the letters of Lytton Strachey and T.S.Eliot; and read excellent biographies of most Bloomsbury characters, she tells us,(see final page), and I BELIEVE her !!! Where else could she have got these intimate, searching and wonderful conversations!!?? Just one or two I ran aground on, but look forward to rereading them, because they hold keys to understanding. Her huge and thorough research has enabled her to get into the minds of a host of characters...especially Virginia. This was eventually UNPUTDOWNABLE !! I found myself regrettably getting closer to the end.
I regret my usual 'rush to judgement' which I have retained (read on!) as a Disciplinary Measure on myself ...thankfully I was holding out for a BIG improvement...and my Hopes were rewarded...happily, surprisingly and rewardingly.
I went from 'barely reading' to "galloping through". Hope you get to enjoy it too. A prior knowledge of the Bloomsbury Group would be a necessary prerequisite I strongly feel. And I can assure you there is no other biographical work like THIS one. But there are plenty of informative and enjoyable ones. They will definitely enhance Norah Swift's Very Original Work.
* * * *
On First Opening Norah's "Adeline":
WHEW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have just waded through the First Chapter of this overwritten bombastic prose. A far cry from the Bloomsberries who had a reputation for speaking and writing with great simplicity ....it is their lives which are regarded as highly complicated !!!
For someone who is claiming to be channelling Virginia Woolf this does not bode well. I needed a transfusion and went where I usually go after this rough sort of experience ....I read some "Virginia Woolf" ...and It was like a breath of Fresh Air. AND put me in touch with The Real Thing !!
I very soon began to wonder whether this writer was not going through an early obsession with Virginia Woolf, as do some fans of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. It leads many to complete Jane's unfinished novels; or write an account of how on one of Charlotte's visits to London she witnessed a murder which led to adventure and a romance !!! Ludicrouus ? YES ! Here we have someone who is getting right inside the Someone, a Very Dubious Task .
Listen...just go to Virginia's Nephews. They knew her personally and LOVED her, were amused by her. Nigel Nicholson found her a lively and amusing visitor, "a favourite aunt who brightened our simple lives with unexpected questions." Quentin Bell has written a two volume biography of this famous Aunt and it reads easily and perceptively as only an insider can. I do hope Norah Vincent used these sources as well. You see, I DO HOPE for an improvement. Shame the publisher ever noticed Chapter One !!!
To Kall...viewing a recent Georges de la Tour in Madrid ?
You LUCKY THING being able to go to this exhibition
I LOVE this guy's paintings...their still To Kall...viewing a recent Georges de la Tour in Madrid ?
You LUCKY THING being able to go to this exhibition
I LOVE this guy's paintings...their stillness, due to deep pondering by the subjects in all their seemimgly monumental calm and simplicity really show up the "over-the-top'-ness of Caravaggio -alllllll turbulence, melodramatic lighting etc etc..but one has to LOVE these as well !!!! Two Masters...unique with still so much in common. Why set one against the Other when you can have BOTH !!! Like Sutherland and Callas !!! Why bother to fight about people who have sooooo much to offer???
My FIRST trip to Europe in 17th Dec 1973-early Feb 1974 had me having such magical experiences...at theLouvre their Georges de la Tour exhibition was.. well OVER, FINI !!! ...BUT...many of the postcards were still on display and I bought a BUNDLE !!! ....the gods were kind to me THAT rainy Paris Day !!!
And a few years later a book was published and I GOT IT !!!
Wonderful portrait of St Jerome I'd NOT seen before. Better than the others. ..and soooo de la Tour !!
Now I have read that he was an 'odious' person which was at variance with his paintings with their and depth and sensitivity.
These labels do not help at all. Are not necessary. Because the Human personality is so varied; and vicious statements attributed may well have been delivered with a glint in a mischevious eye, a humorous seductiveness ...THAT makes all the difference and adds a whole 'other' dimension to a person.
No one is 'perfect" whatever that entails and we have the wonderful works, the survivors...Deo Gratias !!!
PS. What about the pastels of Maurice Quentin de la Tour???
I found my 350 page tome titled "A Short History of French Painting" book from The Oxford Bookshelf when I returned home from that first trip..and "there was Chapter VI headed "Portraiture and La Tour". ALAS...not My George !!! but Maurice Quentin...the 'portraiture' should have warned me ...but here is another Genius with the talent of the Holbein of the Tudors ...those fresh, hot of the press of the artist's most recent sketch. alive, present day, character defined FACEs ...and the pastel is practically PHOTOGRAPHIC when a genius with feeling is manning the brush,crayon pencil..or pastel stick and Maurice's IN COLOUR ...real live breathing people ...go google HIM !!!!
Thanks for getting me up to date with George, Kall, 40 years on! ...MUCH appreciated, I can assure you !!! waYne...xxx ...more
While reading this book I noted the deaths of three survivors of Changi CI'm just eating up this book.
Totally consumed and happily digested.
While reading this book I noted the deaths of three survivors of Changi Camp as well as the notorious Burma Railway, both run by the Japanese with a sickening brutality justified utterly in their eyes and culture, by their contempt for soldiers who surrendered. One death was that of Ronald Searle, creator of those savage St Trinian's Schoolgirls, whose vicious mischiefs were often based on the cruelties of his Japanese torturers on the building of the aforementioned railway. It is ALL relative. One Japanese guard actually wrote to Russell asking if he could play himself if ever a film were to be made of Russell's best-seller account of his captivity in "The Naked Island", so proud was he of his contribution to the construction of the railway on which tens of thousands of Asian, British, Indian and Dutch prisoners died through starvation,disease and physical brutality. More relativity.
The list of Russell Braddon's achievements, one of which was his surviving the slave-construction of the Burma Railway as a young man in his early 20's, are listed on the back cover of this wonderful book. But it is ultimately hollow, this list, except for its last line: "This biography investigates those many challenges and achievements."
Those challenges were surviving his captivity through detachment from himself and his surroundings, through compassionate involvement with his fellow prisoners, his sense of humour and hatred for his captors. The latter, his understandable hatred, became a liability when he had to survive surviving. And he also had to survive living in an intolerant heterosexual world. In the camp it was totally ignored.
It wasn't easy but he did it very well. He tried suicide first and then a stint in a psychiatric ward where he had to survive captivity all over again. But his personality, belief in himself and his creativity were to gain him entry to a star-studded world. But these celebrities were solid and realistic people who had just come out of a dreadful war.
Finally freed, he left Sydney for London, and immediately almost, found himself with n Ausie Changi mate and his wife on the London stage doing the Mind-Reading act they had worked up in Changi. It travelled the world,English-speaking bits. A book about the act led him to "The Naked Island" still in print after 60 years and 2 million copies sold. And solid fame. Ronald Searle contributed powerful illustrations to this memoir.
Now came biographies of the Famous and most Humble and most Down-to-Earth Celebrities - Fellow-Aussie Joan Sutherland - La Stupenda of the Opera World but always a Mate to all; New Zealander/Aussie Nancy Wake, French resistance leader, a killer who hated violence and harboured no hatred for the Germans as also did Leonard Cheshire VC. Russell learned from all of these encounters. Russell was always a private person, as homosexuals of this era had to be, but his two partners can now speak openly, which they do with honesty and with gratitude for a good friend.
This is just the beginning of a happy, extraordinary and tortured life, as all good lives should be; and all resolved finally, as all good lives hopefully are.
Russell died in Sydney in 1995 in his early 70's. He refused treatment for his cancer, choosing a Slow Euthanasia, free of pharmacists. He was over familiar with death and accepted it as a reality of life.
FUTURE READING: This biography may be difficult to get, but Russell's biographies of Joan Sutherland and Nancy Wake, and his best selling memoir, "The Naked Island" are still in print.All together he wrote 15 novels and 14 non/fiction works. Russell's great-great aunt was Mary Elizabeth Braddon, author of the famous and infamous "Lady Audley's Secret" which is also STILL in print, a Victorian potboiler if ever there was one!!!
Fortunately or Not, but certainly VERY Interestingly, this book contains TWO accounts of the story of William Buckley (1780A WARNING BEFORE READING -
Fortunately or Not, but certainly VERY Interestingly, this book contains TWO accounts of the story of William Buckley (1780 - 1856). Both of these books were written with HIS assistance...BUT (here is that Topsy-Turvey word !!! ) the two accounts were written 14 to 17 years apart under widely different circumstances and from totally different motives. Buckley is known to have lied during his long life, some critics have pointed out, and I must say I was very glad to hear about this, because it means he was a typical member of the Human Race to which I happen to belong as well - yes, I too have lied !! - but his aforementioned critics had their prejeudices! (I caught a lovely and funny dog I knew very well lying once...believe it or not !!!)
Tim Flannery, who wrote the 46 page Introduction to the Two Tales, concludes it with a WARNING, which he sees as a bit of a challenge :
"Now it is time to take up with William Buckley in his travels and adventures. It is as well to keep your eyes open and your wits about you as you do."
Tim seems to have cottoned on that finding 'lies' may merely mean having a sort of Game trying to spot where a minor 'hiccup' may have occurred; or perhaps where putting the emphasis on one thing rather than another may arise; or a sign of a weakening memory discovered, because William was about 72 years old when the second book about his Extraordinary Life was finally published in 1852. His uniqueness had not helped him to get any Government support for all he had done to assist both the settlers and his Indigenous family. In fact, by 1853, there were only 34 members of the Wothowurong tribe who had cared for Buckley for 32 years remaining, with only one under 10 years old. In 1836, there had been 173 of them, but the whites had already started killing them. And they were ALL dead by 1885.
Tim, a scientist, archaeologist and antropologist also lectures at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has most probably lied sometimes, but I would not think in any of his many publications. His telling the Truth has, however, got him into much trouble, particularly with the unliberal Liberal Party Government, because he has been warning Us All here about Climate Change for several decades now. I think William Buckley may have had similar experiences. He probably just told the truth Too Often !
William Buckley was in a unique position in the Australian White Society of 1803 !!! He knew MORE about the indigenous people, or certainly a particular group of them , because they were divided into thousands of Language Groups, he knew more than any other white person AND he was prepared to speak on their behalf and even in their Defence. Many White settlers hated him IMMEDIATELY they realised this, and later, after they had killed his horse, he feared they would soon kill him. They had already started killing the Aborigines about property, and Buckley's main tribe,the Wothowurong, were now being murdered as well, because it irritated the founding settlers of Melbourne,that these blacks were living where they wanted to graze their sheep. In England, where killing other English people was against the Law of the Land, the Peasant Class who had got in the way of the Sheep Graziers, just as the Indigenous people were now doing in European Colonies, but had been dealt with by getting the British Government to privatize their lands and then the Establishment of the Enclosure System meant that fencing off the land soon made it obvious to the Peasants that their class of people were now required to work in and support the Industrial Revolution by moving to where the factories were. And mines ! Fewer were needed on the Land. This led to the Rise of the Working Class and the Chartist Movements where the Rights of these people were finally won and which are now still being gradually undone and abolished by Governments as we move into the 21st century. Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) wrote about this AMAZING takeover in his poem "The Deserted Village". And in the 19th Century, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning (1806-1861) wrote a famous poem,"The Cry of the Children", about the very young children who had to work in Factories and Coal Mines, a much more practical alternative to genocide.)
Buckley is NOT listed among "Australia's Famous Men and Women".
Does THAT surprise YOU ? Those we choose to imitate and hold up as Icons say MUCH about our values.
His face appears on no coin or paper note or nor does any statue exist that I know of. But there are expressions such as " You have Buckley's Luck /Hope /Chance of that happening" acknowledges that Buckley's Luck was Rare; and several places in Melbourne bear his name, where he was known to have lived his Native Life of 32 years. Here he had lived and enjoyed mostly an alternative valid existence, where disease was rare, food was plentiful and no gods spoilt one's peace of mind. Spirits had a history - they had shaped the land; and many had been transformed into the Native Animals which were now taken as Guardians, one special animal for each person. But the Land, the Trees, the Rivers, the Animals and the Peoples...all were to suffer Terrible Loss at the Hands of the Newcomers. They suffer still. No White Invader really seemed to acknowledge that these apparently primitive, uncivilised Black People might have untapped depths, hold keys, Keys to Secrets, Keys of Knowledge. Did they ever think to ask or observe or get an opinion? Native Food was scorned; customs ignored, scorned and abandoned. To Our Detriment. Bushfires once prevented now occur and kill Every Summer; rivers turn salty; erosion is rampant; reefs diminish as does Everything. Some few did learn..and Buckley would have been one of the First. Why is he not remembered and generously? Can we admit to our Great Failure, to the Wrong Turnings we made and whose paths we persist in still following? What do Ned Kelly and Burke and Wills offer us except staggering failures. Burke and Wills died where Native Peoples had survived for centuries. It did not take them long to perish. It is not taking long for us either.
My Vision I have long contemplated is when we in our boats set off seeking refuge in nearby Asia leaving the Original Peoples behind, will they assist us, wave us a Fond Farewell from Sydney's clifftops or will they be too busy preparing a Corroboree of Joy and wondering can the Land now cure itself with their aid?
These Two Tales of Buckley are precious beyond Price. Another which reads more easily and blends many other facts together is "Buckley's Hope" by Craig Robertson which was published in 1980. I've heard it has never been out of print.
A Big mind, Big personality, Big vision, Big Ego, Big man, Big voice !!! That he proclaimed himself 'a National Treasure' seems to sum him up in part.
T A Big mind, Big personality, Big vision, Big Ego, Big man, Big voice !!! That he proclaimed himself 'a National Treasure' seems to sum him up in part.
This was Gough Whitlam - our 21st Prime Minister from 1972 to 1975...the number of his innovative introductions are still trying to be dismantled by Liberal Party Governments, which far from being 'liberal' are conservative, elitist, racist...you get the drift; you may even be one,if so, best wishes on a short life!
Learned, witty and clever - he used it ALL in daily conversation and in his Social and Political life. He refused to be described as "funny", for he was no clown but a sharp and wise observer who took his contribution to his country very seriously. He is still lauded as the man who handed out Major Opportunities to Ordinary Australians - the indigenous,the foreign and the settled. These following spring to mind : bringing our troops back from Vietnam, offering free university education, recognising the Land Claims of our Indigenous Aborigines, universal health care, major grants to the arts, removing the White Australia Policy leading Australia into a world of Multiculturalism, and abolishing the death penalty. The Current Liberal Party, many of whose present members were able to take advantage of his educational gift, are seeing to it now that the poor can no longer get a free university education and undoing his works in health, the arts, aboriginal welfare,women's rights ETC !! although they praised him on his recent passing without believing in his message.
Gough is a Light in our present dark days of Opportunist Politicians.
There is TOO MUCH of this book of anecdotes... which is what makes it Ideal !! Divided into seven sections, it can be merely dipped into, taken a random chapter at a time, but ALWAYS enjoyed.
For instance: To a persistent heckler on the Campaign Trail wanting to know Gough Whitlam's stance on abortion:
"Let me make it quite clear that I am for abortion and, in your case, Sir, we should make it retrospective."
LOTS more and may I wish you a Gough in all Your Political Worlds.