Robert Hughes tells with wicked relish the story of a distinguished left-wing Australian intellectual who, when he heard that Hughes was writing a book on the transportation of convicts to that country, remarked that this was like Eichmann undertaking a history of the Jews. Hughes’s immediate response to this (during a radio interview, I believe) was pithily anecdotal: as his dentist always told him before an injection, he had nothing to fear from a little prick. Matters of the mind are pursued with an enviable robustness in Australia.
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I have just spent a wonderful few minutes re-reading the best book review of the year in my opinion. It's by Piers Brendon in September's issue of @Lit_Review. Beautifully captioned as 'Jack the Lad', Brendon takes Fredrik Logevall's JFK: Vol.I apart! It's a laugh a minute. Ouch!
'Perhaps the real modern polymaths are the hidden ones who do not themselves grab the limelight but have the expertise to bring together different fields of knowledge: librarians, teachers, editors of literary journals…'
Jan Morris, who died last week, was a much-loved contributor to our pages. In 2017, she wrote a characteristically witty article about the different winds, their various personalities and how they had touched her life: https://literaryreview.co.uk/let-it-blow.