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Patrick White (1) (1912–1990)

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Patrick White was born on May 28, 1912 in Knightsbridge, London, to Australian parents. He studied modern languages at King's College, Cambridge. During World War II, he served in the Royal Air Force. His first novel, Happy Valley, was published in 1939. His other works include The Tree of Man, näytä lisää Voss, Riders in the Chariot, The Solid Mandala, The Twyborn Affair, and The Hanging Garden. He also wrote several plays including The Season at Sarsaparilla, Night on Bald Mountain, and Signal Driver. They never met with the success his fiction had and have not been produced outside Australia. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. He died on September 30, 1990. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän

Tekijän teokset

Voss (1957) 1,427 kappaletta, 21 arvostelua
The Tree of Man (1955) 799 kappaletta, 16 arvostelua
Riders in the Chariot (1961) 691 kappaletta, 19 arvostelua
The Vivisector (1970) 654 kappaletta, 10 arvostelua
A Fringe of Leaves (1976) 501 kappaletta, 13 arvostelua
The Eye of the Storm (1973) 475 kappaletta, 7 arvostelua
The Twyborn affair (1979) 390 kappaletta, 10 arvostelua
The Solid Mandala (1966) 351 kappaletta, 8 arvostelua
The Aunt's Story (1948) 329 kappaletta, 10 arvostelua
The Living and the Dead (1941) 233 kappaletta, 5 arvostelua
Flaws in the Glass (1981) 222 kappaletta, 3 arvostelua
The Cockatoos: Shorter Novels and Stories (1966) 182 kappaletta, 3 arvostelua
The Burnt Ones (1964) 174 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
The hanging garden (2012) 120 kappaletta, 6 arvostelua
Patrick White Letters (1994) 106 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Memoirs of Many in One: Alex Xenophon Demirjian Gray (1986) 105 kappaletta, 3 arvostelua
Happy Valley (2012) 75 kappaletta, 7 arvostelua
Three Uneasy Pieces (1987) 48 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Patrick White Speaks (1989) 31 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Four plays by Patrick White (1966) 30 kappaletta
Collected Short Stories (2004) 16 kappaletta
Collected Plays: Vol 2 (1994) 13 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Big toys (1978) 10 kappaletta
Netherwood (1983) 8 kappaletta
Patrick White: Selected Writings (1994) 5 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
The season at Sarsaparilla (1984) 4 kappaletta
Night on Bald Mountain (1996) 3 kappaletta
La mano di una donna (2008) 2 kappaletta
Patrick White 2 kappaletta
Les Cacatoès (2021) 1 kappale
Повесть (1999) 1 kappale
Opere 1 kappale
Five-Twenty 1 kappale
A cheery soul (2001) 1 kappale
Down At The Dump 1 kappale

Associated Works

The Oxford Book of Short Stories (1981) — Avustaja — 516 kappaletta, 4 arvostelua
The Treasury of English Short Stories (1985) — Avustaja — 85 kappaletta
Australian Gay and Lesbian Writing: An Anthology (1993) — Avustaja — 58 kappaletta
Australian Literature: An Anthology of Writing from the Land Down Under (1993) — Avustaja — 27 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
One World of Literature (1992) — Avustaja — 24 kappaletta
Australian Love Stories: An Anthology (1997) — Avustaja — 17 kappaletta
Classic Australian Short Stories (1974) — Avustaja — 13 kappaletta
A Century of Australian Short Stories (1963) — Avustaja — 6 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla




Message Board, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (huhtikuu 2013)
The Twyborn Affair - discussion, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (joulukuu 2012)
The Eye of the Storm - discussion, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (marraskuu 2012)
Riders in the Chariot, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (elokuu 2012)
The Vivisector, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (kesäkuu 2012)
Voss - discussion, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (kesäkuu 2012)
The Solid Mandala, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (toukokuu 2012)
Riders in the Chariot, Book talk (toukokuu 2012)
The Tree of Man - discussion, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (huhtikuu 2012)
The Aunt's Story - discussion, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (huhtikuu 2012)
A Fringe of Leaves - discussion, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (maaliskuu 2012)
The Living and the Dead - discussion, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (helmikuu 2012)
The Novels, Patrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge (tammikuu 2012)


White's second novel, The Living and the Dead is set in a grim, mournful, expectant London, waiting for WWII to properly commence. Its three central characters are a mother and her two adult children, each of whom faces disappointment, self-reflection, and more disappointment.

White was around 27 when he started the novel, and he spent the first two years of WWII working on the project, zipping between London (where he was struggling to find success) and New York (where he was critically acclaimed early on, and where he was closer to the man he had fallen in love with during this youthful period). Ultimately, surely to his surprise, White would end up - after the war - back in Australia, and in a relationship with a man very different to those he had met thus far. Perhaps then it seems fair to say that this novel is a different path to those with which White would have his great successes. I don't think it entirely works, but I think it may be a necessary step in his growth.

Funnily enough, this is less successful than his first - Happy Valley - even though that felt like a student writer aping his idols. However that may not be surprising. There, White could emulate much of what made his idols great. Here, he is still clearly inspired by Eliot and Joyce and others, but he is trying to find his own voice. It is more of an ambitious project in a sense, and that is the sense in which it fails. London never fully comes into view; White feels at something of a remove from most of his characters; and even his closest stand-in - the sensitive and clearly homosexual Elyot - is hazy, in no small part because White isn't able to confirm or expand upon the character's sexuality at all, even as he fails in his numerous heterosexual relationships. It all feels rather opaque, and not entirely deliberately. As critics have remarked frequently, it's a joy that his next novel was The Aunt's Story, beginning a run of masterpieces that would lead to White being named the first (and thus far, only) Australian Nobel Laureate for Literature.

So, in conclusion: this is a bit of an oddball member of the White canon, but an interesting portrait into his young literary mindset, if nothing else.
… (lisätietoja)
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therebelprince | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 21, 2024 |
One of the most wondrous books I have ever read, and one I return to whenever I need a reminder of the joys of literature.

This will be too dense for some, too languid for others, but it fits neatly into my Venn diagram of literary interests. Broadly well-intentioned characters slowly moving toward personal relevation? Check. An epic scope grafted on to ordinary lives? Check. A sense of tightly-spun character profiles in which each person is seen through multiple eyes, until a fully honed person emerges? Check. Other things I could list just to annoy you with this repetitive rhetoric? Check check check.

Although The Tree of Man is quintessentially Australian (so much so that it feels like a Tom Roberts has sprung to life) it has an abstract, intimate quality that suggests to me it could be read by anyone. As long as your culture has gone from rustic to urban, as long as you yourself have felt the quiet pull of loneliness, unexpected intimacy, doubt, and thwarted ambition. As long as you have at some point wondered if there was more to the universe than your tiny role in it, but perhaps put those thoughts away rather than face what they may mean.

This is a book that might be classified as "tough going" (like so much of White, whom I adore) but it's not intended to be read in one sitting. This really is a novel to be savoured. Let the language and the gradual expanse wash over you. You'll be okay in the end. If there is an end.
… (lisätietoja)
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therebelprince | 15 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 21, 2024 |
[review from my website, The Patrick White Catalogue]

"Australia. The land of plagues.

Happy Valley is, as many contemporary reviewers noted in 1939, a fascinating first novel. To look back after eighty years at the birth of a luminary novelist is to witness something messy yet styliah, imitative yet innovative, awkward yet accomplished. PW’s influences shine through one every page: Faulkner, Stein, Lawrence, Woolf and, overwhelmingly, James Joyce. Running throughout the book are elaborate streams of consciousness as the author attempts to capture the distracted, often illogical flow of human thought. Sentences omit words or finish abruptly; affected young Sidney Furlow occasionally lapses into French as her mind recites the Mallarmé poems of her schooling; at other times characters reject their own knowledge, suppressing thoughts and convincing themselves of fantasies, even as we witness the truth welling up in their mind. Vic Moriarty convinces herself she really is fond of her husband; Oliver Halliday asserts that he will leave his wife; all the while, their subconscious intrudes dangerously into the prose, suggesting a very different reality. PW paints subjectivity, leaving us to wonder at exactly what drives these characters. Does Moriarty snap in the schoolroom because he knows, on some level, that he is being cuckolded in his own home? Does Rodney know about his father’s betrayal unconsciously, even as he remains an innocent on a conscious level?

At the same time, there are numerous moments when PW’s pen gets away from him. The novel’s modernist peak takes place midway through, when Sidney angrily rides her horse home:

“The wind is wind is water wind or water white in pockets of the eyes was once a sheep before time froze the plover call alew aloo atingle is the wire that white voice across the plain on thistle thorn the wind pricks face the licked fire the wind flame tossing out distance on a reel."

Is this Sidney’s mind collecting only the speediest parts of images as she rides, her emotions racing like her body? Is it the horse? It is perhaps the most impenetrable sequence.

The debt to Stein is profound in the repetition of words (“A wilderness of hours lay between lunch and tea. The yard was a wilderness of silence”). But the debt to Joyce is at the heart of the novel, especially its more imitative first half. The first ten chapters take place over a single day, from morning to night, chronicling the interconnecting lives in a single town, ending with a monologue of a person’s consciousness as they fall asleep. It is unashamedly an Australian mini-Ulysses. PW, too, is at pains to link the early chapters through the hawk flying overhead, and his discursive, sometimes didactic, narrator. As the narrator tells us we have to move on, spatially, further down the valley, we are given the sense of an authorial voice less than detached. Mark Williams has likened this voice to “the narrator of a Victorian novel”, someone arch but impartial, helping to direct us toward morals and symbols throughout.

At times, the young PW (who, after all, wrote the first sketchings of this novel when he was just 20), is not always able to convince in his narrator’s tone. The moment where we are told that women who wear mauve are silly is cute, and may conceivably be the thoughts of the characters, Alys Browne, but suggest more a writer trying to be wry or clever and not quite hitting the mark. Chapter 21 is especially notable as an attempt at philosophy which overwhelms the still immature writer; a sequence that cannot be blamed on the biases of a particular character but rather on a narrator letting his story get the better of him. On page 75 of the Text edition, PW begins a chapter with a lovely sentence recalling a feeling we may well have had. The next sentence commences: “Well, Alys Browne was feeling something like that”. Without the “well”, it may have been great, but instead it feels too chatty, too teenage; an inept attempt at lending a gossipy tone to the novel which is inconsistent with the overall nature of the work. (Contrast this with the exquisite opening to chapter 15, in which the narrator describes the rain and then writes a simple sentence: “Oliver Halliday and Alys Browne.” In context, we know already where they are, what they are doing, and how they feel about it. One of the most artful declarative sentences of PW’s career.)

Yet this is to short-change a writer who shows countless signs of a magnificent talent. His characters here resonate, fascinate, occasionally delight with their moments of lived reality. Many of them clearly come from PW’s own life. Rodney Halliday, the young would-be writer, different to the other boys and needing protection from them (perhaps recalling the asthmatic, intellectual young PW). He is there too perhaps in Rodney’s father, Oliver, a would-be poet who could never “find a theme”, and who is torn between Europe and Australia. The young Alys, determined to be different, and the young Oliver “cultivating an expression of intensity in the glass before going in to tea”, are both realistic conceptions of how PW may have felt during his formative years at Cambridge. Mrs Moriarty has big plans to become one of those ladies who reads while having breakfast in bed, and appears often in the “Ladies” page of the Sydney Morning Herald; this seems like a thinly-veiled reference to his own mother, and one wonders indeed how the stuffy-but-aspirational Mrs. Victor White must have felt about her son’s success in print with such an obscene, modernist text! Yet the nuanced character portrayals are not limited to figures from PW’s own existence. He captures in the opening pages the ordinary lives of Australian figures, most notably in Halliday’s frustration with the common folk such as the publican who utter stock phrases or small talk “just another minute, as if they were afraid that this was the last human contact they would make”. Margaret Quong, too, is a gorgeous character, with a neat shading of the impact of long-term emotional abuse and exclusion. (Chapter 31, in which Rodney and Margaret say their last goodbyes, is exceptionally beautifully written.)

The novel also accurately conveys the feelings that many white Australians felt toward Chinese-Australians. A relatively small group by the 1930s, Chinese-Australians had nevertheless been around for a century, coming south during the first Gold Rushes. The “Chows” are figures of fascination for some; disdain for others; yet viewed by PW as simply others aiming for an Australian dream ever out of reach, except for those willing to forgo their ideals in favour of something more limited, more coldly realistic. (This is a recurring theme of PW’s work.)

Another stylistic debt I suspect is Émile Zola. There are several sequences that reflect the mingling of symbolism and naturalism so indicative of that French grand master (whose entire Rougon-Macquart cycle, a work of genius, is now available in fresh translations from Oxford World’s Classics that remove the stale, heavily censored, 20th century English translations that rendered him an underwhelming figure in our language). The sumptuous sequences of the dance at the School of Arts and the race meeting, which bundle the characters together around one core activity. The brief but compelling moment in which PW personifies the building of the School of Arts itself. And the recurring symbol of the cyclamen flower in its lustre bowl, sprawling open in bloom and then gradually wilting, which reflect so powerfully Vic’s awakening, her desire, perhaps the pudendum itself.

As with any first novel, of course, there are intriguing insights into PW’s longer term career. Is Rodney gay? Or simply delicate? Either way he is the first of numerous young men who will not live up to the masculine demands of their society. Dr. Halliday’s despair at being merely “fond” of his wife reflects PW’s early dissatisfaction with the standard, committed, monogamous lives of unassuming heterosexuals. No legitimate couple in the novel (aside from perhaps the Belpers) has any intimacy or sexual connection; meanwhile, desire is sated in illicit love affairs that in themselves can never last. Twice in the novel, PW anticipates his next work, The Living and the Dead. Margaret is likened to a Gothic figure in a niche embodying pleasure and pain (seeming to connect directly to the Helvetius quote which opens the later novel). Later, Halliday realises: “I have been asleep… And I must remain awake, or at least conscious, conscious in one person of the whole”; the very symbol at the heart of the second work.

Is Happy Valley a success? It certainly pales in comparison to any of PW’s nine “mature” novels, simply by virtue of its occasional moments of oversimplification or broadness. Peter Craven, in his 2012 introduction to the novel, notes that although PW desires to write like a modernist, “the narrative impulse wins out” when he ultimately needs to focus things on a meaty murder plot in the final reels. Perhaps we can argue that Sidney Furlow doesn’t entirely convince, or that Clem Hagan’s motivations are driven more often by other characters than himself. Although PW is clearly on the side of the Asian-Australian characters, some of the descriptive passages nevertheless read as problematic to a 21st century mind. These are all minor flaws, however. Happy Valley is an engaging and enlightening read, worthy not just as a part of Australian literary history but as an intelligent novel in its own right. By 1939, there were still very few outright successes at a high-culture level in Australian letters – the peaks of Henry Handel Richardson and Barbara Baynton perhaps; the works of M. Barnard Eldershaw, Eleanor Dark, and Christina Stead – but here was a confident voice with a defiant signature style. Even the reviewers who did not like the novel seem to have acknowledged that PW was one to watch. This prediction would prove a fruitful one.
… (lisätietoja)
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therebelprince | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 21, 2024 |
I am unsettled by Voss, perhaps White's greatest novel, although oddly not one of my personal favourites of his canon. It is White's "historical" novel, written in a more direct style, by which I mean third-person linear narrator, and a healthy Dickensian roster of supporting characters (fitting for a novel set in the 19th century). But White's goal is very much as per: illustrate the limitations of the standard Australian conception of their country, their culture, their aspirations, contrasting ways of existing, human foibles, and the idea of mythologising others and - in the case of Voss - oneself.

Voss is a confident, beautiful, richly symbolic novel, swerving from the great emptiness of Australia's glorious deserts to the parlours and pavements of 1840s Sydney. White has a lot of fun with historical detail (he used M. Barnard Eldershaw's delicious [b:A House Is Built|4703054|A House Is Built|M. Barnard Eldershaw|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1515447440l/4703054._SY75_.jpg|4767379] as research material - perhaps odd, to use fiction rather than non-fiction for such a purpose!) and it's quite refreshing, after his previous novel (my personal favourite) The Tree of Man to have a White book so peppered with dialogue.

An immense achievement, Voss is not a tale of plot, nor even - on most levels - of character. It is a tale of atmosphere, culture, humanity, and existence itself. Interesting, then, to see its comparatively poor average review score on Goodreads, compared to White's classics. Theory A: the author's deliberate decision to write in the historical mode has actually dated this book faster than his more regular, modernist prose, which was confronting to Australians in the 1950s but now reads as high-culture bog-standard to us. Theory B: most people these days only make it through Voss, so the other White books have higher scores because its acolytes and the literati who read them, while Voss lures and then abandons the great unwashed? Either is possible. This may seem like snobbery, and it is, but it's author-approved snobbery. In David Marr's ace biography of White, the latter is quoted on why he never accepted a university gig: "Those who will understand my books will do so intuitively; I don't want to waste time on the others."

Elitism aside, I find myself directing White newcomers to his more character-focussed, "accessible" novels: A Fringe of Leaves or especially Riders in the Chariot come to mind. I come to suspect Voss is his most lasting achievement because it sits neatly between the "easy" novels and the "difficult" ones (cf The Vivisector, The Aunt's Story). It confronts Australia's present, clashes with its past, and hurls leading questions toward its future. As Laura Trevelyan says, the future begins now.
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therebelprince | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 21, 2024 |



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