Patrick White Beyond the Grave
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148 pages

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A thought-provoking collection compiled by Patrick White scholars that builds on renewed interest since the centenary of his birth.

Patrick White (1912–1990) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973 and remains one of Australia’s most celebrated writers. This book represents new work by an outstanding list of White scholars from around the globe. White’s centenary revived mainstream interest in White in Australia and included a major exhibition on his life at the National Library of Australia. So too did the discovery of a highly significant hoard of hitherto unknown papers which were released by White’s literary executor Barbara Mobbs in 2006. The book aims to carry this momentum outwards to the rest of the world.

The contributors’ research is lodged in forwards-oriented methodologies and expressed in accessible language. On the whole, the collection is notable for its acknowledgement of White’s homosexuality in relation to the development of his literary style, in its consideration of the way his writing ‘works’ on/with readers, and for its contextualizing of his life and oeuvre in relation to London and to London life.

The title of the book reflects the effect on White scholarship of the newly discovered papers, the focus of numerous chapters on the farcical and ‘knockabout’ qualities of White’s work, and the contributors’ intention to inspire further work on White from a rising generation of scholars of twentieth-century literature beyond Australia.

Introduction (Ian Henderson); Part I. Resurrected Papers; 1. The Evidence of the Archive (Margaret Harris and Elizabeth Webby); 2. Leichhardt and ‘Voss’ Revisited (Angus Nicholls); Part II. Many in One; 3. White’s London (David Marr); 4. Elective Affinities: Manning Clark, Patrick White and Sidney Nolan (Mark McKenna); 5. ‘Dismantled and Reconstructed’: ‘Flaws in the Glass’ Re-Visioned (Georgina Loveridge); 6. Patrick White’s Late Style (Andrew McCann); Part III. The Performance of Reading; 7. Patrick White’s Expressionism (Ivor Indyk); 8. The Doubling of Reality in Patrick White’s ‘The Aunt’s Story’ and Paul Schreber’s ‘Memoirs of My Nervous Illness’ (Aruna Wittman); 9. Desperate, Marvellous Shuttling: White’s Ambivalent Modernism (Gail Jones); 10. ‘Time And Its Fellow Conspirator Space’: White’s ‘A Fringe of Leaves’ (Brigid Rooney); Part IV. Queer White; 11. Knockabout World: Patrick White, Kenneth Williams and the Queer Word (Ian Henderson); 12. Queering Sarsaparilla: Patrick White’s Deviant Modernism (Anouk Lang); Contributors; Index



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Date de parution 15 août 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781783084456
Langue English

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Patrick White Beyond the Grave
Patrick White Beyond the Grave
New Critical Perspectives
Edited by Ian Henderson and Anouk Lang
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company
This edition first published in UK and USA 2015 by ANTHEM PRESS 75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
© 2015 Ian Henderson and Anouk Lang editorial matter and selection; individual chapters © individual contributors
The moral right of the authors has been asserted.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Patrick White beyond the grave : new critical perspectives / edited by Ian Henderson and Anouk Lang. pages cm Includes index. ISBN 978-1-78308-397-8 (hard back) – ISBN 978-1-78308-398-5 (paper back) – ISBN 978-1-78308-399-2 (pdf ebook) – ISBN 978-1-78308-445-6 (epub ebook) 1. White, Patrick, 1912-1990–Criticism and interpretation. I. Henderson, Ian, 1969-editor. II. Lang, Anouk, 1976-editor. PR9619.3.W5Z83 2015 823’.912–dc23 2015015239
ISBN-13: 978 1 78308 397 8 (Hbk) ISBN-10: 1 78308 397 2 (Hbk)
ISBN-13: 978 1 78308 398 5 (Pbk) ISBN-10: 1 78308 398 0 (Pbk)
Cover image © William Yang
This title is also available as an ebook.
CONTENTS Acknowledgements   Introduction
Part I.
Chapter 1.
The Evidence of the Archive

Margaret Harris and Elizabeth Webby
Chapter 2.
Leichhardt and Voss Revisited

Angus Nicholls
Part II.
Chapter 3.
White’s London

David Marr
Chapter 4.
Elective Affinities: Manning Clark, Patrick White and Sidney Nolan

Mark McKenna
Chapter 5.
‘Dismantled and Re-Constructed’: Flaws in the Glass Re-Visioned

Georgina Loveridge
Chapter 6.
Patrick White’s Late Style

Andrew McCann
Part III.
Chapter 7.
Patrick White’s Expressionism

Ivor Indyk
Chapter 8.
The Doubling of Reality in Patrick White’s The Aunt’s Story and Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness

Aruna Wittmann
Chapter 9.
Desperate, Marvellous Shuttling: White’s Ambivalent Modernism

Gail Jones
Chapter 10.
‘Time and Its Fellow Conspirator Space’: Patrick White’s A Fringe of Leaves

Brigid Rooney
Part IV.
Chapter 11.
Knockabout World: Patrick White, Kenneth Williams and the Queer Word

Ian Henderson
Chapter 12.
Queering Sarsaparilla: Patrick White’s Deviant Modernism

Anouk Lang
The majority of chapters in this volume originated at the ‘Patrick White: Modernist Impact, Critical Futures’ conference held at the University of London in 2010. The editors would like to thank the institutions that supported the conference: the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London, the British Australian Studies Association, the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and the Lincoln Britain-Australia Trust. Particular thanks go to Professors Carl Bridge (KCL) and Warwick Gould (IES).
Ian Henderson
There are moments when the critical revival of Patrick White seems rather a sustained defence of practising literary criticism at all in the twenty-first century; and in twenty-first-century Australia in particular. Even Simon During who, in Patrick White (1996), denounced his subject’s relevance and, more recently, unfavourably compared White’s talents with Saul Bellow’s, did so principally to reassert the ‘crucial social importance’ of ‘literary judgement’ to contemporary culture. 1 But the situation can be put far more positively, and democratically. The ‘revival’ is nothing less than a celebration of reading itself. In the hands of the revivalists, reading White becomes – for all of us – an act which is at once personal and social, individualistic and political, devotional and subversive, sacred and profane.
Here, then, is reading as fundamentally relativistic, forged at the interface of print (or screen) and skin, of mind (even soul) and body, of one’s own and other bodies (individuated or clumped as clans and societies of various hues), of individual desire and social politics, of art and the world and of the human and its horizons. This is not to say that such testing of the potentialities of human communication cannot occur elsewhere, including in board rooms, across suburban dining tables, on TV screens, in sports grounds across Australia and in numerous other sites of ritual Australian life. It is rather to station this specific contest in, through, and about the performance of literary reading. Hence to enter the realm of Patrick White’s writing is quite distinct from closeted solipsism, but rather to test momentarily in apparent silence the capacities of the Australian word.
Whether or not one believes in the epic myth of White’s personal artistic odyssey, for so many readers his words (consciously arranged and/or intuitively assembled) occasion new ambitions for their own. Over the years, many critics have registered the moment they became ‘hooked’ on White for this very reason. It seems to matter little whether this is a surrender to prevailing intellectual fashion or ‘purely’ for the stimulation it induced. What matters is the action it occasioned: not only the further provocation of reading itself but also writing , and thereby the perpetual invocation of challenging ideas.
Not least among these are the ones to which During refers: about how literature combats the insidious aggressions practised by ‘our contemporary political and political-economic modes of government’. 2 And as often as not they are ideas seeded in a space – Australia – which is itself an entanglement of political, social, aesthetic and sacred practices, dynamically indigenous and/or warped in the crossing from every other part of the globe. But whatever the case, it is as the ‘common’ transfiguration of difficult reading into responsive writing (or provocative conversation) that we interpret During’s literary judgement; rather, that is, than siting it exclusively in the person of the professional critic. And in White’s work – enhanced no doubt by the historical breadth, depth and internationalism of his critical reception – we find suitably challenging ground for elite-level play in this everyday sport of art. 3
Broadly, this new collection contributes to the ‘new’ White scholarship that emerged since his death in 1990. As such it registers the structural difference between analysing developments in the ongoing work of a living writer and treating the oeuvre of a still recently dead author for its peculiar mix of contemporary relevance and historic artefact. The former proceeded from the eventual discovery of a canonisable author and the reviewing with increasing seriousness of each new production to the seeking in academic journals to ‘fit’ new productions within White’s perceived aesthetic, devotional and social preoccupations (a T. S. Eliot-style jostling, as it were, of the White ‘tradition’). 4 It celebrated or railed against changes in his motivations and style: most notoriously with the apparent apostasy of The Twyborn Affair (1979), Flaws in the Glass (1981), Memoirs of Many in One (1986), the ‘late crazy plays’ and overt political activism. 5
What has happened since? The impact of David Marr’s magisterial yet witty biography, Patrick White: A Life (1991), can hardly be underestimated. Read, re-read and approved by White himself shortly before his death, it brought new attention to a writer’s life which had traversed so much of Australia’s political, social and artistic development in the course of his 78 years, evinced not least in White’s various allegiances to Britain, America and cosmopolitan Europe. It found illuminating but not overbearing biographical details in White’s plots, articulated the epic qualities of his own literary development and eclipsed in its currency the very literature it set out to celebrate. Marr’s collection of White’s letters followed, in 1994, revealing further both the searing personality behind the work and his significant place among so many other influential practitioners and promoters of twentieth-century arts in Australia and beyond.
But in the 1990s, contextualised by fierce debates in public culture over the realities and extent of colonial violence and contemporary oppression, Australian criticism was justifiably preoccupied with seeking to understand how the complex politics of race registered in the country’s literature. It sought and tested critical methodologies drawn from postcolonial theory to approach

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