Looking for Mr Mathews

Melbourne University Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Meanjin, 2005, 64 (3), pp. 152 - 162
Issue Date:
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THERE was a time when the corners of his tiny work space were discernible. Now they are indeterminate behind towers of bric-a-brac, and the walls are concealed by binders, papers, audio tapes, maps, photographs, books. There are works on Australian history and postcolonial studies, dictionaries and histories of anthropology, and also a few treatises on life-writing, but these are half-buried and only half-read. More conspicuous are biographies that have enthralled him. Boswell on johnson and David Marr on Patrick White share company with A.j.A. Symons' The Quest for CoI1'O and A.s. Byatt's romance of biographical investigation, Possession. Sometimes the man looks up from the muddle of papers on his desk and one of these books will catch his gaze. He thinks jealously of the shrewdness or good fortune of the writers who found such subjects. Unlike himself, these biographers had the opportunity to breathe life into their creations.
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