AustLit logo
Mark McKenna Mark McKenna i(A75206 works by)
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

Works By

Preview all
1 y separately published work icon Mark McKenna on the Use and Abuse of Australian History Mark McKenna , Carlton : Black Inc. , 2018 12791220 2018 single work criticism

'Australia is on the brink of momentous change, but only if its citizens and politicians can come to new terms with the past. Indigenous recognition and a new push for a republic await action.

'Judging by the Captain Cook statue controversy, though, our debates about the past have never been more fruitless. Is there a way beyond the history wars that began under John Howard? And in an age of free-floating fears about the global, digital future, is history any longer relevant, let alone equal to the task of grounding the nation?

'In this inspiring essay, Mark McKenna considers the frontier, the Anzac legacy and deep time. He drags some fascinating new scholarship into the light, and pushes the debate about history beyond the familiar polarities.' (Publication summary)

1 Success Dogged Him Mark McKenna , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly , September no. 137 2017; (p. 52-53)

'Writing biography,” as Judith Brett confides in the opening pages of The Enigmatic Mr Deakin  (Text; $49.99), “is an invasive business, and perilous”. Sifting through the “surviving evidence” for “plausible paths”, the challenges are daunting: separating myth from fact, establishing intimacy and retaining distance, liberating and controlling the subject’s voice, being fearless in judgement while maintaining fairness and compassion, embroidering the private and public lives, retrieving life both as it was lived (a phantom) and as it was remembered - and, finally, deciding whether or not to break free from the tidal force of chronology. There are as many ways to write biography as there are to live.'  (Introduction)

1 On a Quest for National Values Mark McKenna , 2017 single work review essay
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 12 August 2017; (p. 18)

'Even for a 17-year-old upstart from Muswellbrook, the diary entry was a stunning declaration of intent: ‘‘Friday, 7th January 1938. It is my desire to do great things, but I have not yet decided what great things … if I write I want to write literature. I want to write for Australian literature too.” The desire for greatness was just as startling as the clarity of its direction. From the earliest moments of his writing life, Donald Horne’s literary ambition was conceived as a contribution to a larger national project, one that ultimately involved dragging Australia out of its provincial torpor towards a future that was independent, republican and explicitly founded on the values of ‘‘liberal humanism”. Horne would write both to and for Australia.'  (Introduction)

1 The Character Business Mark McKenna , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Monthly , February no. 130 2017; (p. 36-41)
1 The Clarion Call of History Mark McKenna , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 383 2016; (p. 52-57)

— Review of The Art of Time Travel : Historians and Their Craft Tom Griffiths , 2016 multi chapter work criticism biography
1 ‘National Awakening’, Autobiography, and the Invention of Manning Clark Mark McKenna , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Life Writing , vol. 13 no. 2 2016; (p. 207-220) Life Writing after Empire 2017; Clio’s Lives 2017; (p. 81-102)
'In the late twentieth century, Australian historian Manning Clark (1915–1991) was the nation’s leading historian and public intellectual. Clark published a six-volume history of Australia (1962–1987) and was one of a vanguard of intellectuals striving to articulate a new Australian nationalism in the wake of the British Empire’s decline. His best-known volumes of autobiography were published in quick succession. Puzzles of Childhood (1989), which tells the story of his parents’ lives and the ‘nightmares and terrors’ of his childhood, and Quest for Grace (1990), which begins from his days as a student at Melbourne and Oxford universities in the 1930s and ends just as the first volume of A History of Australia is published in 1962. In addition to these two volumes, Clark’s autobiographical writings extended to reflections on historical writing, essays, speeches and interviews. This paper argues that all of Clark’s writing (including his histories) can be seen as inherently autobiographical. As Clark remarked, ‘everything one writes is a fragment in a gigantic confession of life’. Clark’s autobiographical writings point not only to the notorious unreliability of autobiography but also to much larger questions, such as the relationship between autobiographical truth and his invention as a national figure, and the author’s right to own their life story. Finally, perhaps more than any other Australian intellectual of his generation, Clark’s autobiographies narrate his life story as an allegory of national awakening. ...'
1 Elective Affinities Manning Clark, Patrick White and Sidney Nolan Mark McKenna , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Patrick White beyond the Grave : New Critical Perspectives 2015; (p. 81-100)

'Mark McKenna traces the ups and downs of another queer relationship, the oftentimes unreciprocated love of Australia's 'great' historian Manning Clark for the visionary he saw in White. He shows how Clark's monumental multi-volume History of Australia expresses greater allegiance to the preoccupations of Australia's 'elite' mid-century writers and artists, notably White and Sidney Nolan, than to the work of Clark's contemporaries in the academic discipline of history.' (Introduction 7-8)

1 An Anzac Myth : The Creative Memorialisation of Gallipoli Mark McKenna , Stuart Ward , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Monthly , December - January no. 118 2015-2016; (p. 40-47)
1 Growing Pains : The Nation's Capital Turns 100 Mark McKenna , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Monthly , February no. 86 2013; (p. 32-35)

— Review of Canberra Paul Daley , 2012 single work prose
1 Six Pack : Volume One of A History of Australia is Published Mark McKenna , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Telling Stories : Australian Life and Literature 1935–2012 2013; (p. 240-246)
1 After Manning Clark : Biographer's Postscript Mark McKenna , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , Winter vol. 72 no. 2 2013; (p. 84-94)
1 Dublin Days Mark McKenna , 2012 single work diary
— Appears in: Meanjin , Spring vol. 71 no. 3 2012; (p. 10-16)
1 Lest We Inflate Mark McKenna , 2012-2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Monthly , December-January no. 85 2012-2013; (p. 30-35)
1 Untitled Mark McKenna , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Historical Studies , September vol. 42 no. 3 2011; (p. 433-435)

— Review of A Three-Cornered Life : The Historian W. K. Hancock Jim Davidson , 2010 single work biography
1 Clark and His Monster Mark McKenna , 2011 extract biography (An Eye for Eternity : The Life of Manning Clark)
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 14 May 2011; (p. 6-7, 9)
1 A Singular Voice, Loved and Loathed Mark McKenna , 2011 extract biography (An Eye for Eternity : The Life of Manning Clark)
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 7- 8 May 2011; (p. 3)
1 Chronicles of a Lost Soul Mark McKenna , 2011 extract biography (An Eye for Eternity : The Life of Manning Clark)
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian Magazine , 30 April - 1 May 2011; (p. 16-21)
1 24 y separately published work icon An Eye for Eternity : The Life of Manning Clark Mark McKenna , Carlton North : Melbourne University Press , 2011 Z1776387 2011 single work biography Manning Clark was a complex, demanding and brilliant man. Mark McKenna's compelling biography of this giant of Australia's cultural landscape is informed by his reading of Clark's extensive private letters, journals and diaries - many that have never been read before.

'An Eye for Eternity paints a sweeping portrait of the man who gave Australians the signature account of their own history. It tells of his friendships with Patrick White and Sidney Nolan. It details an urgent and dynamic marriage, ripped apart at times by Clark's constant need for extramarital romantic love. A son who wrote letters to his dead parents. A historian who placed narrative ahead of facts. A believer who flirted with Catholicism. A controversial public figure who marked slights and criticisms with deeply held grudges.

To understand Clark's life is to understand twentieth century Australia. And it raises fundamental questions about the craft of biography. When are letters too personal, comments too hurtful and insights too private to publish? Clark incessantly documented his life - leaving notes to the biographers he knew would pursue his story. He had a deep need to be remembered and this book means he will now be understood in an unforgettable way.' (Publisher's blurb)
1 Silence Shattered with a Whisper to the Heart Mark McKenna , 2009 single work biography
— Appears in: The Australian Literary Review , March vol. 4 no. 2 2009; (p. 14-16)
1 2 y separately published work icon Manning Clark : A Life Mark McKenna , Melbourne : Melbourne University Press , 2009 Z1364307 2009 single work biography