Remembering Patrick White

Contemporary Critical Essays

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Remembering Patrick White presents the first major study of the full range of White’s work in over twenty-five years, and aims to bring this important author up to date for new generations of readers and scholars. Patrick White is a writer of moods and perspectives and the essays collected here range in their focus over his public presentations, his formal challenges, his spiritual leanings and dramatic gestures. They examine the breadth and significance of White’s intellectual contribution and consider the ongoing legacy of his thought and his art within national and international frames. As a collection, they focus our attention on what Patrick White means at the juncture of the present, reading his work through contemporary critical perspectives that further underscore the dynamism and substance of his writing.
Contributors: Bill Ashcroft; Veronica Brady; Bernadette Brennan; Lorraine Burdett; Greg Graham-Smith; John McCallum; Lyn McCredden; Elizabeth McMahon; Brigitta Olubas; Brigid Rooney; Jennifer Rutherford; Anthony Uhlmann.

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Elizabeth McMahon and Brigitta Olubas are both Senior Lecturers in English at the University of New South Wales and are co-editors of Women Making Time: Contemporary Feminist Critique and Cultural Analysis (2006). Elizabeth has published numerous essays on Patrick White and is the co-editor of Southerly, Australia’s oldest literary journal. Brigitta has published widely on Australian literary and visual culture, including essays on Tracey Moffatt and Raimond Gaita.
Remembering Patrick Whiteis an essential shot in the arm. It reminds us we do need actively to remember Patrick White, to fetch him back centre-stage in Australian literary scholarship. And yet the essays in this book also look forward, remembering in order to re-energise scholarship on White’s novels, plays, and life. Indeed, if this timely book reminds us of the vitality – and the resolute contemporaneousness – of White’s intellectual engagement with Australia and the world, it is to show us how much we still have to gain from bringing new perspectives to bear upon his body of work, which is no less astounding in the twenty-first century than it was during his lifetime.” – Ian Henderson, King’s College London
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Patrick White’s Public Selves
Brigid Rooney: Public Recluse: Patrick White’s Literary-Political Returns
Bernadette Brennan: Riders in the Chariot: A Tale For Our Times
Rodney Wetherell: Patrick White and his Award
Form and Expression
Jennifer Rutherford: Homo Nullius: The Politics of Pessimism in Patrick White’s The Tree of Man
Anthony Uhlmann: The Symbol in Patrick White
Elizabeth McMahon: The Lateness and Queerness of The Twyborn Affair: White’s Farewell to the Novel
White’s Metaphysics
Bill Ashcroft: The Presence of the Sacred in Patrick White
Lyn McCredden: Voss: Earthed and Transformative Sacredness
Veronica Brady: The Dragon Slayer: Patrick White and the Contestation of History
Performance
John McCallum: The Late, Crazy Plays
Brigitta Olubas: “Some of the doors of the house have never been seen open”: Poetic Habitation and Civil Space in Patrick White’s Early Drama
Gregory Graham–Smith: Against the Androgyne as Humanist He(te)ro: Patrick White’s Queering of the Platonic Myth
Bibliography
Lorraine Burdett: Patrick White, 1994–2009
Notes on Contributors
Index
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