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In 1973 the Australian novelist Patrick White won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the year that his great novel of family ties and change, The Eye of the Storm, was published and became a bestseller in America and Europe. Yet White is still not widely known or read, and few writers of today have provoked so many contradictory judgments.
Now Peter Wolfe has written the first book-length study of the work of this brilliant and haunting novelist. The study offers a subtle, penetrating examination of White's style, his skill in building narrative tension, and also the depth and complexity reflected in his characterization, which, in his novels, always dominates action. Fittingly, for a writer whose novels bear the indelible stamp of Australia, the study also examines White's psychological use of setting and the intense sense of place found in his work.
No other critical study of White covers such a broad range of his writing. Peter Wolfe considers here the entire canon of the novels. The Tree of Man, Voss, The Vivisector, The Eye of the Storm, A Fringe of Leaves, and The Twyborn Affair (White's most recent novel) are all discussed. White's themes and settings range from the power and immensity of the wilderness of the Australian outback to the dislocations wrought in traditional values by postwar industrialization and urban sprawl.
Laden Choirs makes accessible to an American audience a writer of the first rank, whose work lies at the heart of modernist concerns. Literary students and scholars who wish to explore the world of Patrick White will find this book an essential key.
Peter Wolfe is professor of English at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. He is the author of eight other books on modern writers, including Iris Murdoch, Rebecca West, Graham Greene, and John Fowles.
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Patrick White, Australian writers, Australia
Literature in English, Anglophone outside British Isles and North America
Wolfe, Peter, "Laden Choirs: The Fiction of Patrick White" (1983). Literature in English, Australia. 1.