Distinguished scholar our new president

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  • Post published:November 27, 2005
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The Johnson Society of Australia now has a new President, following the retirement, under the JSA’s constitution, of Professor Clive Probyn after four years in the presidency.

His successor is Professor John Wiltshire, a foundation member of the JSA since 1993, and formerly Vice-President, who has recently been given the singular honour of a Personal Chair at Latrobe University, where he has taught English for more than 30 years. All members of the Society will congratulate John on both his new achievements.

Over the years, John has given many seminar papers to our members, on subjects ranging from David Garrick to eighteenth-century medicine, as well as the David Fleeman Memorial Lecture in 2001.

John is one of the world’s leading Jane Austen scholars. His three books on Austen are Jane Austen and the Body: ‘The Picture of Health’ (Cambridge University Press, 1992), Recreating Jane Austen (Cambridge University Press, 2001) and Jane Austen: Introductions and Interventions (Delhi: Macmillan, 2003).

He is currently preparing an edition of Mansfield Park for The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen, due for publication in October 2005, and working on a book provisionally titled Austen and England: critical politics.

John is also a Johnson scholar. A contributor to The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson, he has published Samuel Johnson in the Medical World: the Doctor and the patient (Cambridge University Press, 1991) and a lecture in the Johnson Society of Australia series, Jane Austen’s ‘Dear Dr Johnson’ (2000).

His current Johnsonian project is a book for the Icons series published by Helm International, provisionally called The Making of Dr Johnson. In addition, he has published articles on Frances Burney, intermediary between Johnson and Austen, and is writing the chapter on Frances Burney’s Journals for the Cambridge Companion to Frances Burney ed. Peter Sabor (forthcoming 2006).

He is currently working on a book concerning the public image and reputation of Dr Johnson, which will include reproductions of many portraits, as well as pictures of statues, monuments and other Johnsoniana, and will appear in a series from Helm Information called ‘Icons of Modern Culture.’

John also specialises in and writes on ‘literature and medicine’, more especially forms of narrative in medical contexts, and medicine, nursing and narrative. He is an International Contributing Editor on the journal Literature and Medicine.

With Paul A. Komesaroff, he has published Drugs in the Health Marketplace (Melbourne: Arena 1995), and, in collaboration with Judith M. Parker, articles on nursing practice in various journals and collections. With Paul Komesaroff and Philipa Rothfield, he has edited Sexuality and Medicine: bodies, practices, knowledges (XLibris 2004). In preparation is A History of Western Medicine from the Viewpoint of the Patient.

Retiring JSA President Clive Probyn, also a notable scholar, specialising in the works and Jonathon Swift and latterly, the Australian writer Henry Handel Richardson, was the founding President of the JSA and has served the Society admirably in both his four-year terms. He will continue to be a valued member of the JSA committee