Category Archives: Literature and Culture

With Hard Labour: the Case Of Alice Parkinson (review)

by Carol Markwell, directed by Phillip Mann and Jo Kahl, Suter Gallery Theatre, Nelson.

Listener: 21 January, 1995.

Keywords: Literature and Culture;

A central problem in women’s suffrage year was how to recognize all women and not just the good and the great: ordinary women and their experiences, like falling in love, getting pregnant, and getting jilted. Real enough events to tens of thousands of women, illustrative of the economic and biological asymmetry of the genders, but largely ignored officially or, if remembered, deplored.

Contributions to listener Books Of the Year:1994

Listener: 24 December, 1994.
Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Literature and Culture;

Edward Said’s exciting 1993 Reith lectures are now published as Representations of the Intellectual (Vintage $16.95). With passion and conviction he puts intellectuals at the centre of civilization and at the margins of society, charging them with the moral duty to address the public, as an outsider independent of government and corporation. The short book, only 90 pages, is packed with inspiration, replete with eminently quotable passages. I want to give it to all my friends who walk the lonely path of the intellectual, to say that they are not alone, that the isolation they experience is integral to their chosen profession.

A painter who walked such a lonely path is commemorated in Francis Hodgkins: Paintings and Drawings (AUP, $59.95) by Iain Buchanan, Michael Dunn, and Elizabeth Eastmond. A gorgeous selection of her subtle and sensuous works: images worth pouring over, in the way one savour’s Said’s ideas.

The Legacy Of a Poet: Milton! Thou Should Be Living in This Hour.

Listener: 7 May, 1994.

Keywords: Literature and Culture;

Economists were once thought to be among the liberal and progressive sections of the intelligentsia. Today they are thought of as curmudgeonly philistines. As a mild protest I thought I should write about the poet and pamphleteer John Milton, who lived in the 17th century, more than 100 years before the word economy gained the meaning it has today. England then had about the same population as New Zealand today, but it was more rural, with London, the largest city, about half the size of Christchurch.

New Zealand’s 51 Best Books

Published in The Dominion in January 1992

Keywords: Literature and Culture;

This selection is a New Zealand response to 101 Best Australian Books, complied by John Arnold and Peter Pierce for November’s Bulletin magazine. Their selection was influenced by the personal inclinations of the compilers. within constraints to produce a representative listing in terms of subject, chronological spread and gender. They were limited to one book per author and appear to have ruled out books with multiple authors such The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. The Bulletin list is in alphabetical order. This is grouped into loose chronological order by subject (rather than by publication date).

Who Seen the Little Lamp?

Listener: 17 December, 1988 Keywords: Literature and Culture;  Macroeconomics & Money; Political Economy & History; I was unable to attend the entire Mansfield centenary conference but I did get to the opening lecture, a brilliant inaugural address by Vincent O’Sullivan, professor of English at Victoria University. Mansfield’s status as a New Zealander has always been…
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Challenges to the Comfortable

Listener: 22 December, 1984.

Keywords: Literature and Culture;

It is strange to recall the public outcry caused by the arrival of abstraction in painting. We now accept that form and colour are relevant and important. Abstract painting is now safe, for while it challenges us intellectually there is – as with landscapes – a distance between the picture and our human preoccupations. Where then does the painter af social realism, the commentator an our lives, fit in? Not in the boardroom or the living-room; paintings which glare at us, challenging the way we live, do. not belong in those places – do. they?

1966 and All That

Listener 12 May, 1979

Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money;

The terms of trade measure the value of our exports. In the 1950s and the early 1960s they were high, which meant that we were able to buy a lot of imports for each tonne of wool, meat or butterfat. It may well be that for those 18 years we experienced the longest period of high terms of trade in our entire history .As a result New Zealand had one of its most sustained periods of prosperity. Not the least of the achievements were moderate economic growth, low inflation and negligible unemployment.