"In spite of all that can be said against our age, what a moment to be alive in. What an epoch for a magazine to emerge in!"


Quadrant was founded in 1956 and the first four issues  appeared in 1957. The organising genius in the venture was Richard Krygier, a Polish-Jewish refugee, and the founding editor was the leading poet James McAuley. Behind the magazine stood the Australian Committee for Cultural Freedom, the Australian arm of the international Congress for Cultural Freedom, dedicated to cultural freedom and the intellectual resistance to communism and its fellow travellers in the West.

Peter Coleman is one of the surviving members of that resistance movement. He wrote The Liberal Conspiracy to chart the rise and fall of the Congress, and he also wrote an account of the selection process when James McAuley became the first editor of  Quadrant. McAuley was the sole editor for the first five years and the magazines that appeared during that time have become collectors items because he published the leading poets, essayists and critics of the day.

They stand as a monument to the spirit of freedom, of democratic capitalism and the best aspects of western culture and intellectual life. It will be good to see them put on line for the benefit of people who do not have access to the originals. The contents of the first five years (20 editions) of the McAuley Quadants can be seen below to indicate the riches that will become available when they are put into the public domain.

More on James McAuley and the current Quadrant monthly and website.

Rafe Champion, Sydney 2012

The guiding principles, from McAuley's first editorial comment.

To be Australian in our orientation, because we are interested in this country, its people, its problems, its cultural life, its liberties, and its safety;

To publish work of interest and merit on any topic without regard to the affiliations or repute of the author, the sole requirement being that the material should be worth reading;

To be guided, when an editorial attitude is called for with regard to questions of civil liberty or public standards, by the principles underlying the parliamentary institutions of this country and the Common Law - than which we know no better school of freedom and civility and prudence, in the old high sense of those words; for to be a good Australian is to be a local variety of that 'free and lawful man', the traditional ideal of Western civilization.

Volume IV


Number 13 Summer 1959-60

V L Borin - Australia: Limited, Horrible, and Unlimited.

He notes the early strength and organization of Australian workers due to the shortage of labour generated by the gold rush in the 1850s. The stonemasons in Victoria achieved an eight-hour day in 1856, three years before Marx published the first volume of Das Kapital. The workers strongly opposed immigration from Britain, for fear of competition from the million or so paupers in England. Up to 1860 some 280,000 assisted migrants came from the UK but that flow dropped to 9,000 a year until in 1883 a larger intake promoted outrage including acts of violence against English migrants. By 1898 immigration practically ceased. Then the Irish became a target of prejudice, stirred by Henry Parkes, among others, for political purposes.

Since WW2 he reports that the Truth newspaper and some others  turned against European migrants.

"The Australian people are not responsible for any hostile acts against New Australians. The responsibility lies with the ruthless demagogues, scoundrels who make patriotism their personal business, and Australian political and church leaders who are silent, whether they agree or disagree with the ruthless demagogues."

Hugh Atkinson – "Long Ago Summer".  (short story)

James McAuley –  On Being an Intellectual.

A very unflattering sketch of some habits, mannerisms and allegiances of the left-leaning intelligentsia.

"No-one who tries to tell the truth on this subject can expect to pass unscathed; for he is touching a class of persons who combine interior conflicts and self-reproach with an astonishing measure of complacent arrogance and skill in gang warfare if subjected to criticism - one of the ways in which they resemble a priesthood".

A rather exclusive class, they are apparently ready to dispense with most of the traditional orders of western  civilization – the monarchy, the nobility, the clergy, merchants, farmers large and small, craftsmen and peasants, leaving bureaucrats, intellectuals and proletarian workers.

Read the whole essay which is readily available in the collection The Grammar of the Real.

A V Sherman – The New Right in Britain.

A  loose-knit collection of young Conservatives, called the Bow Group after a working class suburb in London where they first met, has come into being to preserve the genuine liberalism that was almost swept away in the 20th century. Sherman suggested that 20  years ago such a group would have  been inconceivable, and in another 20 years “its influence over Conservative – and to that extent , national – politics, may well be decisive.”

Clement Semmler  - James Joyce in Zurich.

Semmler  visited Zurich and explored the haunts of James Joyce and his companions with an academic from the University and some research students in the English Department. Joyce took refuge in Zurich during both the world wars and the old city became his final resting place when he died there in 1941.

Evan Jones – "A Valedictory Ode on leaving the University of Melbourne".

John Meredith – Study in Black and White.

The author took issue with a claim in an academic journal of English folk dance and songs that dalliances between Aboriginals and whites “is a theme that Australian folklore inclines to avoid”. He produced ample evidence in print plus a deal of acecdotal evidence from outback pubs  that miscegenation continually cropped up wherever men met to drink and yarn.

“In addition to the songs and ballads, there are many examples of yarns, or formalized prose pieces which circulate orally in the bush concerning white bushmen and their relationship with Aboriginal women. The best know are probably the Jacky-Jacky series.”

K Semmens – “How Like an Onion”.

Charles Higham – The Poetry of Kenneth Slessor.

Slessor stood with R. D. Fitzgerald at the transitional stage of Australian poetry between the era of the ballardeers and a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan approach to verse.

"When Slessor's first poems were published shortly after the first world war, they were read with a quickening delight as symbols of youth resurgent from the mire and wreckage."

Higham noted the influence of the Lindsays which appeared in verse about dryads and fauns, gay colours and rich surfaces.  In these early years Higham depicted the poet as a captive of romantic enthusiasms, shallow, addicted to "the gimcrack, the opulent and the bizarre."

"Then,  just when it seemed that its own impetus would exhaust his poetry, Slessor found an image which  made him turn from Lindsay delicacies, from Drlinghurst Nights and dryads. He became obsessed with the sea."

The result was his most enduring work, including "Captain Dobbin", "Beach Burial", "Five Visions of Captain Cook" and of course "Five Bells". But still Higham detected a fundamental lack of faith and vitality in Slessor's world vision, expressed in the end of his poetic output in early middle age.

"He has moved, in his poetic life, from vitalism to fatalism, and thence to total extinction of the poetic gift."

Martin S Dworkin – The Vanishing Diary of Anne Frank.

The author meditated on the transformation of the Anne Frank story that occurred in stage and film dramatizations of the tale told in her diary. Without casting any doubt on the good intentions and professionalism of all involved in the play and the film, he was convinced that practically all of the message that needs to be conveyed about the Holocaust was lost in translation.


Peter Winton – The Plunge into the Non-Figurative. A review essay of The Study of Modern Art by Seldon Cheney.

C. Wright Mills, The Causes of World War Three; Peter F Drucker, The Landmarks of Tomorrow; Judith Wright, The Generations of Men; A. R. Chisholme, Men Were My Milestones; Harry Whelton, The Third World War; Eleanor Dark, Lantana Lane; Norman R. Tindale and Norman Lindsay, Rangatira; J. A. Hempel, Italians in Queensland; Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation.

Number 14  Autumn 1960

Richard L. Walker – Australians in Wonderland.

Many western travellers in Stalin’s Russia such as the Webbs  and Manning Clarke reported that all was well and the Revolution was delivering economic development, happiness and democracy. Dissenters were disgruntled refugees or axe-grinding ideological enemies of progress. Krushchev’s speech came as a bombshell to the faithful, but still another generation of hopeful pilgrims went to China and come back with more good news. Walker reviewed three books by Australian authors  which “illustrate only too effectively the wide range of talents which can be recruited for telling a story in a manner which will serve the interests of the Mao regime.”

The books are Chinese Journey: The Republic Revisited by Leslie Haydon (Angus & Robertson), Chinese Women Speak by Dymphna Cusack (Angus & Robertson) and Flood Tide in China by C P Fitzgerald (Cresset Press, London).

Some questions need to be asked about the publishers as well, unless they expected the books to be shelved in shops and libraries under Fiction.

Douglas Terry – Departure. (short story)

T. H. Jones – Billy Budd and the Corporal.

Jones meditated upon two small masterpieces by American authors, Melville and Faukner who in turn were meditating on the great American theme of the conflict of innocence and freedom. Each of the central characters were Christ figures, innocents who died for the sins of other people. Billy Budd, the Handsome Sailor, was undone by the malice of a senior officer. The other, a French corporal in the Great War, started a strike in the ranks which spread to the German side and brought the war to a halt, until the disorder was corrected by the execution of the corporal.

Faulkner’s story of the corporal as called simply A Fable. Melville’s book is Billy Budd.

Douglas Stewart – "Rutherford".

A  long poem on the transition of Ernest Rutherford from a New Zealand farmboy to a great pioneer in physics and the winner of a Nobel Prize.

Manning Clarke – The Love of Christ.

A morality tale about the malicious humiliation of a good-hearted and naïve woman, maimed and scarred for life by a road accident. With a final comment on the thoughtless  reaction of countless others when the story spread.

“Within a few weeks Olive’s remarks had gone the rounds of Singapore. Students roared with laughter when Gupta retailed it. Up and coming English civil servants dined out on it. An elegant hostess begged: ‘Do tell us about that priceless remark by that Australian gel!’"

“And I wondered then as I wonder now why she of all people should be brought to derision.”

A. D. Hope – Free Verse, a Post Mortem.

Hope celebrated the decline of this “disease”. Was it premature? He traced it back a century to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, which infected some French poets who passed it on to take a more virulent form in English poetry. At the start it was often a political gesture by poets of the left and it took on a wider significance when it achieved a kind of intellectual credibility on the argument that new rhymes were required to capture the new moods of modern life.

“We do not insist upon free verse as the only method of writing poetry. We fight for it as a principle of liberty. We believe that the individuality of the poet may often be better expressed in free verse than in conventional forms.”

Hope referred to some of the great poets and concluded:

“What Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Dryden, Wordsworth, Tennyson and perhaps W H Auden have done in their time  may be done again. The language itself provides continual new resources for rejuvenating the traditional patterns and providing them with new and yet traditional music. The whole notion that the capital resources of poetry were limited and would one day be exhausted is no more than a bogey based on real ignorance of the real nature of language. Not onlyl is the remedy of free verse a bogus remedy, the disease it pretends to cure is a popular delusion.”

E. O. Schlunke – The Sheep’s-eye View.

A sorry perspective on the conditions that sheep are forced to endure through the various trials and tribulations of their lives, with mordant observations on the human types they encounter on the way.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe – "End of Term".

Barbara Maude – Design in Australia.

Maude lectured extensively in England on domestic design. She contemplated the challenge confronting the newly formed Industrial Design Council in the light of the experience of a similar Council in Britain. She considered that the British body did some good work in association with like-minded people in the general public to maintain standards in planning and design, to save some recent developments from replicating the damage done in the past when  development was driven too rapidly  be people who did not care.  She was pessimistic about the prospects in Australia because she did not detect sufficient public concern about the appearance of towns and cities. On the  micro-scale, she was  concerned about the need to develop better taste by designers and consumers of furniture, home furnishings and appliances. 


Lloyd Ross – a review essay of Catholic Action and Politics by Tom Truman.

Other books reviewed:  Robert Graves, The Crowning Privilege  and Collected Poems; Vincent Buckley, Poetry and Morality; Dal Stivens, Jimmy Beckett; Chris Wallace-Crabbe, The Music of Division; Robert D Fitzgerald, The Wind at Your Door; William Henry Chamberlin, The Evolution of a Conservative.

Number 15 Winter 1960

Comment - The Critic's Task.

McAuley laments the weight of academic criticism that too often “towers above the work that is its occasion.” He is pleased to note the contribution of a new book by Helen Gardner The Business of Criticism (OUP) which he welcomes for the modesty and good sense of her views about the task of the critic. She wants the critic to convey a sense of enjoyment in the business of reading, however minute the examination and how fine the points that are made. And above all to convey a sense of what is good about fine poetry and even the good points of indifferent poems.

“To kindle appreciation of what is good is in the long run a better way to strengthen public discrimination than to scourge what seems bad.”

Nan McDonald – "Photograph of an Actress c. 1860".

Peter Hastings – Big Jim Farley: A Memoire and a Postscript.

Peter Hastings recalled the time when he was a young correspondent in New York for a group of Sydney newspapers, on the eve of the Presidential election which took Eisenhower to the White House. By a stroke of good fortune Hastings gained access to Big Jim Farley, once a major figure in the Roosevelt administration, at the time Chairman of the Coca-Cola Export Corporation since his political star declined. All their hopes rode on Adlai Stevenson and they supported each other’s fervent expectation that Adlai would do it. In the event Adlai failed dismally. Years later they met in Sydney and agreed that they failed badly at crystal ball gazing. But Farley’s enthusiasm was not dimmed, and  transferred to a young Senator Jack Kennedy. 

R. H. Morrison – "But That Was Long Before".

Alice Tay Erh Soon and Eugene Kamenka – Karl Marx and the Law of Marriage and Divorce.

This article reproduced a 1842 piece by the very young Karl Marx (under 25 years of age) in the newspaper which he edited, bitterly criticizing some aspects of the Divorce Bill. Soon and Kamenka provided a commentary on Marx’s position to illustrate the beliefs that drove him at that early stage of his career. He was not yet a socialist but he was driven by a Hegelian notion of freedom and also a firm belief in natural law.

J. P. Kenny – The Problem of Modern Religious Art. [Comments by R. J. Stove]

Not much information is available regarding John Peter Kenny (to give him his full name), other than that he lived from 1916 to 1996, and that several pamphlets of his were published by the Australian Catholic Truth Society after World War II. He may, or may not, have been identical to an eponymous Jesuit priest who is mentioned in late-20th-century bibliographies concerning Aquinas.

Discussing religious art in Quadrant, Kenny does not obviously reveal his Catholic allegiance, but this allegiance emerges implicitly from such Maritain-influenced phrases as “the dignity of the human person” (which during John Paul II’s time would be much more common among Catholic authors than it was in 1960). Kenny, like Maritain – whom he does not specifically mention – is by no means averse to modern art per se in churches. Far from it. What does rile him is the inability of so much modern art to live up to its potential. He cites four reasons for this problem:

Modern art’s tendency towards “blatant, unalloyed self-expressionism”;
its excessive emphasis on subjectivism (a useful servant but a very bad master);
its sheer anti-human ugliness (“One detects this vice,” Kenny complains, “in the fierce and unbridled caricatures of womanly beauty that weary us in contemporary exhibitions”: is this a veiled reference to Willem De Kooning?); and
its proneness to deteriorate into a mere technical exercise (“experiments in spatial relations, essays in tensions of reds and yellows”).

Kenny devoutly believes in, and proclaims, the special status which is the artist’s alone: God has endowed him “with a beauty-making power enabling him to sway his fellow-man.” Why does he so often fall short of this lofty goal? The answer, Kenny argues, is twofold. First, a widespread refusal to admit that houses of worship deserve “the best within our means  … we shall not tolerate what is artistically valueless or meretricious.” Second, an analogous reluctance to realise that art in church has a totally different role from art in a museum or in a private home: art in church serves – or, at any rate, should serve – “to teach religious truth in the way most appealing and accessible to the particular congregation in question.” (The italics are Kenny’s own.)

Commercialised art, quite as much as self-consciously avant-garde art, can and does fail under Kenny’s criterion. He cites a 1952 decree by Rome’s Holy Office which banned “stereotyped statues and pictures” from churches. (It is fair to say that not one Catholic in a million, at the time Kenny wrote his essay, would have known of this edict’s existence.) This decree, of course, to the limited extent that it could be obeyed at all, affected Catholics alone. Kenny also avers that mass-produced art is by its very nature incapable of “the loftiest expressions of the human spirit … necessarily vital, creative, personal.” He quotes a little girl who, on being confronted in church with a statue of the Sacred Heart, innocently asked: “Mummy, what’s that lady doing with the tomato?”. (Here Kenny seems to have mixed up his Catholic images. If the statue was indeed female, it would have been the Immaculate Heart of Mary: not the Sacred Heart, which appertains solely to Christ.) Poor depictions of the Blessed Virgin cause Kenny special annoyance, because “they do not even suggest that here is a woman of average force of character; one sees simply a simpering, teenage doll.”

Mere copying of ancient artistic masterpieces is not the solution, particularly when such copying involves Renaissance (as opposed to mediaeval) portraiture, “for the religious value of Renaissance art is by no means equal to its artistic merit … it is naturalistic, humanistic, neo-pagan.” No, somehow or other churches will need to make use of the talented artists who already exist in Australia, rather than just slavish imitation of geographically or chronologically foreign models (“today no speaker would be so foolish as to harangue an Australian audience with those Latinised, periodic sentences” of Burke and Dr Johnson, however much he might admire those authors).

Here Kenny discerns hope. Much 20th-century art is symbolic rather than representational; and much of the greatest religious art of earlier centuries, above all from Kenny’s cherished Byzantium, is likewise symbolic rather than representational; a happy cultural marriage could surely be brought about as a consequence. “Strictly liturgical art is mostly abstract – one has only to recall vestment decorations: the HIS, the Alpha and Omega, the Chi-Rho, the blade of wheat, the cross. … [Religious art’s] function is not to tell us what a person looked like; its function is to be a symbol of faith.” Hence the folly, on which Kenny expounds, of putting in church a photograph of Ingrid Bergman in the role of St Joan.

Not that pure abstraction is without its own artistic dangers. In a church context, “it easily succumbs to two temptations … that of pure subjectivism and that of denying (by implication) the Incarnation.” Figurative art is desirable (and Kenny censures Stanislaus Rapotec for avoiding it altogether in his notionally sacred painting Via Crucis). “But some non-figurative art may indeed be religiously satisfactory. It may, for example, evoke a mood stimulating prayer and devotion.” In short, “the solution to the problem of modern religious art lies in the discreet employment of the contemporary artist.”

David Martin – End of a Captive. (fiction)

The last days of Jinny, an old Chimp in a zoo.

Dal Stivens – The Kookaburra Which Couldn’t.
A very short story of a reckless kookaburra.

Yuan-li Wu – The Weapons of Trade.

The author was Associate Professor of Economics at Marquette University (Wisconsin) and author of a major book Economic Survey of Communist China. This article provided an extensive review of the pattern of Chinese trade in the region with particular attention to the way trade was being  used to put in place strategic alliances.

Rosemary Dobson – "Eutychus".

J. K. McCarthy – Far Away and Long Ago.

An account of the characters the author met and drank with on a tramp steamer from Sydney to Rabaul in the 1920s when he  was appointed as a field officer of the New Guinea Administration.

A. D. Hope – "The Coasts of Cerigo".

Sibnarayan Ray – Indian Students in Ferment.

Ray was a Senior Lecturer in Literature at the City College, Calcutta. He reported that the major Indian universities were convulsed by student riots to the point where the universities of Lucknow and Allalahabad were closed for more than a month. Ray attributed the unrest to the disparity between the provision of higher education and the expectations that were aroused by policy statements about making much more provision for castes and classes which had been excluded from higher education.

James McAuley – We are Men – What are You?

Reflections on some disturbing intellectual trends in the social sciences and especially anthropology towards "positivism" and relativism.

"When the sons of the Melanesian primitives shortly arrive at our universities they will be told by their teachers that only the choice of means can be rational, the choice of ends and principles being necessarily irrational. Let us hope they do not learn this lesson too thoroughly. Nihilism does not invariably take polite academic forms."


A new translation of the Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson; Alan Drury’s best-selling novel Advice and Consent; Edmund Fuller, Man in Modern Fiction; Father Ronald Fogarty, Catholic Education in Australia, 1806-1950; W. B. Yeats, Mythologies; Manning Clarke, Meeting Soviet Man; V. L. Borin, The Uprooted Survive (on the  new Australian experience); Morris West, The Devil’s Advocate.

Number 16 Spring 1960

Vincent Buckley – Cultural Freedom and Church Schools.

Among the most prominent Australian poet-critics during the Cold War was Vincent (“Vin”) Buckley, born in 1925 and resident for most of his life in Melbourne, save for a long period (1967-79) spent mostly in Ireland. Space precludes detailed biographical information about him – that, in any event, has already been supplied by Overland editor John McLaren in his book An Unfinished Journey: The Life and Work of Vincent Buckley (2009) – but suffice it to say here that in the late 1950s Buckley emerged as Australia’s best-known young Catholic writer, reaching audiences which never responded half so well to the ultramontane James McAuley (his senior by eight years). Associated above all with Melbourne University’s English literature department, Buckley belonged to the anti-communist left, being by turns friendly and hostile to the Santamaria / DLP / NCC milieu. His own current-affairs magazine Prospect exercised an intellectual influence out of all proportion to its brief life (1958-64) and modest sales; his memoir Cutting Green Hay (1983) is at once poetic and factually uncommunicative. He died in 1988, having acquired a reputation for exceptional charisma and a rather more solid fame for awe-inspiring alcohol consumption.

On the vexed issue of State Aid to Catholic schools – which continued to convulse national politics from the early 1950s until the Whitlam era, even after Menzies had come out in support of such funding – Buckley took the standard Santamaria line (which Santamaria himself, as emerged from his posthumously-published correspondence, bitterly regretted in old age). That is, he regarded the denial of government funding to Catholic schools as (in his own words) “an affront to the Catholic conscience and an oblique denial of parental rights … I hope my fellow-Catholics won’t be too disillusioned when they discover that many of the secularists with whom we cheerfully live understand and appreciate pluralism less well than they [Catholics] do.”

Buckley summarises the two main secularist arguments against State Aid: that it would weaken the government’s role over education; and that it would be socially divisive. To the latter charge he responds by asking “precisely what does the dividing.” To the former charge he responds by saying that “there is something totalitarian about the desire to … insist that all children should receive precisely the same education from the same educating authority.” Sensitive to the accusation – always apt to occur in Australian history, and occurring with particular frequency after the 1954 ALP split – that Catholics were innately anti-democratic, Buckley points out that “you can have such a [religiously “neutral”] education only if you are prepared to ignore the rights of dissenting individuals … Education inevitably involves training in values, the question is, who decides what the values are to be."

J. L. Mackie – Dogmatism and Understanding.

Mackie, Professor of Philosophy at Sydney University, took the other side of the case on state aid and the editor noted that the contributions from Buckley and Mackie were written independently. Mackie argued that the primary function of education is to promote understanding (in a secular sense), so he did not see religious schools as essential and he did not see that purely secular education is in any way deficient. He considered that children were entitled to be educated without regard to the prejudices of their parents.

“If we could take this conflict of rights by itself I should favour the rights of the children against that of the parents. But this problem cannot be considered in isolation. The right of the children to free mental growth, if it has to be defended against the parents, can be defended only by a State education system.”

He added the proviso that the State education should itself be free of indoctrination, or it would be no better than a religious system.

Gwen Harwood – "Alter Ego".

Elwyn Lynn – Communication and the Non-figurative.

Lynn was a highly productive artist and commentator. This essay examined the evolution of artistic forms in the 2oth century with special reference to the kind of non-figurative art that became prominent in the mid-century, demanding a more sophisticated grasp of symbolism in general and the particular forms and symbols used by individual artists.

“The theory of art here outlined  - a theory implying that non-figurative art is neither meaningless nor dehumanizing – is indebted to Suzanne Langer. It depends upon acceptance of the idea that there are meanings which it is intrinsically impossible for words to express.”

J. R. Kerr – The Struggle Against Communism in the Trade Unions.

John Kerr QC, later Sir John Kerr, the Governor General in 1975, described the various strategies that were required to counter the communist domination of the trade union movement. There was a role for the Courts, but other essentials were strong leadership, willing teams of workers and persistence in the face of obstruction ranging from physical violence to ballot stacking, and relentless propaganda.

Desmond O’Grady – "Old Buffers".  (fiction)

Angus Maude – Why is Waffle?

A meditation on the use of evasive talk (aka waffle) especially by politicians. The author was a Conservative MP in Britain before he came to Australia to edit The Sydney Morning Herald. The editor noted that his account of political waffle must be based on his experience in the House of Commons “since the art is quite unknown in Australia.”

Bernard Yoh – Report on Communes in Red China.

The author fought against the Japanese in Central China as a guerrilla leader and subsequently specialized in the study of Chinese political and psychological warfare. He spent some time in Hong Kong talking to refugees from mainland China and put together a picture of the dawn to lights out regime of work and indoctrination in the communes, all on starvation rations.

Albrecht Haushofer  - Moabit Sonnets.

Arnold S. Kaufman – Must Morality be ‘True’? A Comment on Kurt Baier’s Views.

Kaufman sketched the argument in a book by Kurt Baier (at Canberra University College) that the common sense man is correct in his argument with the moral sceptic who denies that moral judgements can be true or false.

“His strategy is basically simple. He tries to do three things: to show that there is an absolute morality, to show that this absolute morality is true, and to argue that any particular morality which embodies the moral point of view is true in virtue of this fact, whereas any that does not is false.”

Leslie Bodi – Marx, Engels and the Poets.

Bodi came from Hungary to teach German at the Newcastle University College.  He provided a comprehensive summary of  a book by Peter Demetz, Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale. He regarded Marx, Engels und die Dichter as the first systematic analysis of the development of Marxist aesthetics as seen by a scholar in the Western democratic world.


M. J. Charlesworth reviewed The Logic of Scientific Discovery, the recent English translation of Karl Popper’s Logik der Forschung (1935). He noted that Popper was something of an odd man out in contemporary philosophy, being largely untouched by the vogue of Linguistic Analysis. This was a sympathetic and accurate account of Popper’s radical innovations in the philosophy of science, as it was practiced by the logical positivists in Vienna and their descendants the logical empiricists and analytical philosophers. Their influence  in Australia was recorded by Manning Clarke in an episode in 1940.

"The first time I sat down in the 'caf' at Melbourne University I asked politely 'Would you please pass the salt?' My neighbour, a gifted woman, looked at me with the eye of the saved for the damned and said. 'I don't know what you mean.' I decided to listen to what was going on. In the ensuing weeks I picked up a new vocabulary. I often heard the word 'tautology': that, I gathered, was a sin against the Holy Ghost. I heard the phrase 'non sequitur'. I was often asked: 'Is that a verifiable proposition?"  The Quest for Grace, p112.

Charlesworth was sympathetic to Popper.

“Popper writes with great clarity and forthrightness and is never afraid to state the obvious. That  may seem to be an odd kind of compliment; but in these latter days of philosophical sophistication, when there are so  many questions that one just does not ask, and so many things that one just does not say, asking the obvious question and making the obvious objection can be a very great virtue.”

Strangely, Charlesworth changed his stance a few years later when he and three colleagues conducted a study of the activities of the scientists in the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. The study investigated the alignment of scientific practice with the major philosophies of science but Popper did not get a mention in the report (Life Among the Scientists, reviewed here ). Some time  later in a review of a book by David Stove, Charlesworth noted (as a joke on the scientists) that Popper was the only philosopher who the Institute scientists seemed to take seriously.

J. M. McCarth reviewed Fear Drive My Feet by Peter Ryan. Other books reviewed; Cecil Hadgraft, Australian Literature; R. L. Bruckberger, Image in America; Desmond King-Hele, Shelley: His Thought and Work; The Australian Institute of Political Science, Trade Unions in Australia; C. D. Rowley, The Lotus and the Dynamo; Byrnes and Vallis (eds), The Queensland Centenary Anthology; Thomas Thornton Reed, Henry Kendall; The Journal of Religious History and A Review of English Literature.

Quadrant 1957

Quadrant 1958

Quadrant 1959

Quadrant 1961

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