An interdisciplinary seminar on items from the Library’s Special Collections, and their use. All welcome. J.C. Beaglehole Room – RB404.
The Language of Lace
Speaker: Cathrine Lloyd, Honours Student, French, VUW
Book: Dictionnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts et des metiers, avec leur explication... Neufchatel : Societe Typographique, 1779
My research is focused on the language of lace and its representation in 17th and 18th century French paintings. I will talk about how access to a complete set of l’Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers from 1750, gives insight into the perception of the lace at that time.
James K.Baxter the playwright
Speaker: Sharon Matthews, PhD student, Otago University
Resources: Father Frank MacKay’s papers relating to J.K.Baxter
James K. Baxter (1926-1972) is known primarily to a contemporary audience as a poet and a social critic. He was also a prolific playwright. Baxter did not begin seriously writing as a playwright until 1956, but he completed more than twenty-one plays before his death in 1972. The Temptations of Oedipus, written in 1968 just before Baxter left Dunedin on a journey that eventually led him to a small community called Jerusalem on the Whanganui River, is commonly considered to be Baxter’s ‘last’ play.
While Temptations is certainly Baxter’s last produced play, its penultimate status is thrown into question by the discovery of an unproduced radio play, The Boat and the River, among the collection of papers, transcripts and letters made by Father Frank McKay while preparing his biography, The Life of James K. Baxter (1990). Although the twelve minute radio script can justifiably be described as “sparse” (and is so termed in the attached reader’s report), The Boat and the River is of great interest; not only for the way in which the piece throws valuable light on the way in which Baxter as a playwright was viewed by his contemporaries, but also for the way in which it reflects themes and tropes of concern to the poet at this late stage of his life.
Harry Holland’s “Samoan Complex”
Speaker: Nicholas Hoare, Masters Student, History
Resources: Harry Holland pamphlets
Reference: DU415 P186 Box 1, 6 & 7; HD4875 N5 H735 I
H. E. Holland was the foremost critic of New Zealand’s Samoan Administration in the country during the years he was in Parliament, 1918-1933. The Labour Party leader’s devotion to issues of justice in Samoa was legendary; Holland’s colleague John A. Lee coined it a ‘Samoan Complex’. As well as voicing his criticism within the debating chamber and out on the campaign trail, much of his opposition to New Zealand’s Samoan policy was received by the public in pamphlet form. Holland’s three Samoan pamphlets (all held by the J.C. Beaglehole Room) formed the spine of my 2012 honours research essay in which I argued that the legacy of Holland’s “complex” has been generally under-appreciated in both New Zealand and Samoa. These texts, alongside his other anti-imperial pamphlets, hold further relevance for my current MA research which is on domestic critics of New Zealand’s Pacific Empire more generally. Here I also hope to pose that the role of pamphleteering as an efficient and effective means for the wide dissemination of political propaganda was an important function within these types of counter-cultural discourses.