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Patrick White Letters

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ISBN-10: 0226895033

ISBN-13: 9780226895031

Edition: N/A

Authors: Patrick White, David Marr, Patrick White

List price: $40.00
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"Letters are the devil, and I always hope that any I have written have been destroyed." --Patrick White Patrick White spent his whole life writing letters. He wanted them all burnt, but thousands survive to reveal him as one of the greatest letter-writers of his time. "Patrick White: Letters" is an unexpected and final volume of prose by Australia's most acclaimed novelist. Only a few scraps of White's letters have been published before. From the aftermath of the First World War until his death in 1990, letters poured from White's pen: they are shrewd, funny, dramatic, pigheaded, camp, and above all, hauntingly beautiful. He wrote novels to sway a hostile world, but letters were for friends. The culmination of ten years' work and reflection by David Marr, author of the well-received biography "Patrick White: A Life," the volume tells the story of White's life in his own words. These are the letters of a great writer, a profound critic, a gossip with the sharpest eyes and tongue, a man who loved and hated ferociously, a keen cook, an angry patriot, and a believer never free of doubt. Patrick White (1912-1990), Australian novelist and playwright, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1973. His many novels include "Voss," "The Twyborn Affair," and Riders "in the Chariot." David Marr grew up in Sydney and abandoned the law to become a writer, journalist, and broadcaster. He is the author of "Patrick White: A Life" and "Barwick." He is now presenter of Australian Broadcasting Company-Radio National's "Arts Today."
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Book details

List price: $40.00
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 6/15/1996
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 688
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 2.398
Language: English

Patricia Morely, one of Patrick White's early critics, wrote that "Out of tension and the many selves came the work that made White the greatest novelist writing in English in the twentieth century." While some might disagree with this assessment, no one could truthfully argue with White's great achievement. His twelve novels, written over nearly 50 years, focus again and again on spiritual longing. White sifts the human race into one part practical, the other impractical. The practical people settle into a life of doing, and the impractical ones---the visionaries---reach for a life of being. But in human terms even the visionaries fail to satisfy their longing for spiritual understanding. Their quest is never complete, for the novels maintain a nervous, unsettled energy, failing in their open endings to reach the completeness of understanding for which they strive so hard. White's writing style is cohesive with this central theme of the movement toward being. Although the stylistic elements have been criticized, especially the tortured syntax, they must be accepted and appreciated as inseparable from which is being said. For White's language struggles, too, and sometimes fails, along with the characters and their actions. Finally, the novels are not all solemnity but record as well the comic side of the irrational and illogical world in which men and women are placed to seek some sort of meaning. A fifth-generation Australian from a wealthy landowning family, White was educated in England, served in World War II, and then settled in Sydney, where he wrote his major novels. Always fascinated by the theater, he also wrote several plays, but they never met with the success his fiction has and have not been produced outside Australia. White's initial reputation was made in the United States and Europe, where his work first received publication. Few Australian critics recognized the greatness of these novels, which would alter the face of Australian literature. Although most of White's work is set in Australia, he handled the traditional materials in new ways, turning away from the realistic tradition of Australian fiction and moving into metaphysical realms. Once White received the Nobel Prize, the first writer of the British Commonwealth to be so honored, the resistance in Australia toward his work largely faded. Yet he remains an international figure. His work has been translated into many languages, and the abundant criticism that continues to appear comes from all parts of the world.

Finding his Feet May 1912-October 1939
Love and War February 1940-January 1945
A Patch of Soil February 1945-December 1951
Ordinary Lives April 1952-February 1957
Lost and Found March 1957-September 1958
Chariots December 1958-February 1961
Stage Machinery March 1961-March 1963
Loose Ends March 1963-September 1964
Martin Road October 1964-January 1967
Words and Paint February 1967-January 1970
Storms along the Horizon January 1970-December 1972
Laureate December 1972-November 1952
Applause November 1975-December 1978
The Face in the Mirror January 1979-December 1981
An Angry Man February 1982-December 1984
Autumn to Winter December 1984-September 1990
Notes White and His Letters
Illustrations Cast of Correspondents