Autodidactic dreams…


I have them.

Thanks in large part to the novels of Philip Roth, I have begun constructing reading lists – broad surveys of streams of knowledge that I feel I should know about, towards which I feel a have, à la Trilling, a ‘moral obligation.’  It is Roth’s grasp of broad movements in modern American politics and history – a mastery he is not alone in possessing- that has made me only too aware of my woefully incomplete knowledge of the cultural, political and social history of my own country, Australia.

And so it is there that I begin, in Australia, at Australia’s beginning.  Here is the first list, one that will take me some time to work through, one that is by no means exhaustive nor particularly canonical, but one that will certainly provide a broad spectrum of opinion that can be further refracted from white to black and everything in between:

Blainey, Geoffrey – “A Short History of Australia”

Clarke, Manning – “A Life”

Durack, Mary – “Kings in Grass Castles”

Facey, A. B. – “A Fortunate Life”

Flannery, Tim – “The Birth of Sydney”

Flannery, Tim – “The Birth of Melbourne”

Ginibi, Ruby Langford – “All My Mob”

Ginibi, Ruby Langford – “Don’t Take Your Love To Town”

Haebich, Anna – “Spinning the Dream”

Hill, Barry – “Broken Song”

Hill, David – “1788 – The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet”

Hirst, John – “Freedom on the Fatal Shore”

Hirst, John – “Sense and Nonsense in Australian History”

Hirst, John – “The Australians”

Jones, Philip – “Ochre and Rust”

Kenny, Robert – “The Lamb Enters the Dreaming”

Kennealy, Thomas – “Commonwealth of Thieves”

Morgan, Sally – “My Place”

Pilger, John – “A Secret Country”

Smith, Babette – “Australia’s Birthstain”

Tink, Andrew – “William Charles Wentworth”

More lists will follow as I construct them.  Ambitious?  Yes.  Exciting?  Absolutely.


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