Welcome to Steep Stairs. Volume 5

October 13, 2011

Steep Stairs Review is a journal of reviews and commentary on literature and culture, curated by the Literature Department at Trinity College Foundation Studies, at the University of Melbourne, Australia. This WordPress site is our newest incarnation, however, Steep Stairs has a longer history. Please look here to see Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 archived on the Trinity College website in a PDF as Collected and Neglected Works.

In this issue, we have a great selection of reviews on both literature and non-fiction, as well as some commentary on some deeply important, and some not so pressing but no less interesting, issues of our current times.

Rosalie Ham explains the rewards gained from her journey into the unexpected narrative turns in David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, 2010, in Lively Immersion. In Wit and Verve, Jennifer Sinclair considers the merits of A Visit From the Goon Squad, 2010, by Jennifer Egan, and why it deserved to pip Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom at the post for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The evolution of the physical experience of reading Literature – from paper book to the increasingly ubiquitous eReader – need not diminish the pleasures of the text, writes Jennifer Mitchell in Commentary and Opinion.

Our feature non-fiction review essay is a consideration of two recent publications on the Long Contested and Still Emerging debate over “who is the real Shakespeare?” Glen Jennings considers the fluent and considered contribution of James Schapiro, in his book Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare, 2010. Also included in this essay is a succinct outline of the diverse contributions being made to the still emerging body of scholarship on Shakespeare, in ‘Rapt in Secret Studies’: Emerging Shakespeare, 2010, edited by Darryl Chalk and Laurie Johnson.

In Voices From Elsewhere, Mike Heald reviews the collection of stories by Nam Le, The Boat, 2008, beginning with a wonderful anecdote about Le’s approach to addressing the fact that from his Vietnamese face an Australian voice emerges. And lastly, with the challenges of repairing the earth’s ecosystems still enormous, Mike Heald in Our World in Focus finds the analysis of this challenge by Jared Diamond in Collapse. How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, 2005, still of immense validity, especially in the context of the rancourous Australian debate about carbon emissions.

We hope you enjoy this inaugural “blog” edition of Steep Stairs. Please follow us to have the latest issues and posts delivered to your inbox.


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