Spring 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 2 Cultures of Creativity: The Centennial Celebration of the Nobel PrizesApril 1, 2001 |

Patrick White: Writing Towards Silence

The reputation of Patrick White is in that mysterious slump to which most writers are, for a while, posthumously consigned. The famous and "Australian" novels—The Tree of Man (1956), Voss (1957), Riders in the Chariot (1961), A Fringe of Leaves (1976)—remain canonical, and have never ceased to hold a cardinal position within Australian—and, with reservations, post-colonial—literature; as instances of, or episodes in, a modem national "epic," they demand engagement at the political level. The other major novels—The Solid Mandala (1966), The Vivisector (1970), The Eye of the Storm (1973), The Twyborn Affair (1979)—have attracted much attention from allegorists and psychoanalysts, especially of the Jungian school. Such explications have not been conducive to sustained critical debate. Of the three early novels—Happy Valley (1939), The Living and the Dead (1941), The Aunt's Story (1948)—only the latter remains in print, supported by White's own frequent protestations tha

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