Writing the Nation: Patrick White and the Indigene - Cross/Cultures 97 (Hardback)Cynthia Vanden Driesen (author)
Hardback 207 Pages / Published: 01/01/2009
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The time for new approaches to White's work is overdue. Central to the present study are Edward Said's ideas about the role of the intellectual (and the writer) - of speaking "truth to power," and also the importance of tracing the "affiliations" of a text and its embeddedness in the world. This approach is not incompatible with Jung's theory of the `great' artist and his capacity to answer the deep-seated psychic needs of his people. White's work has contributed in many different ways to the writing of the nation. The spiritual needs of a young nation such as Australia must also comprehend its continual urge towards self-definition. Explored here is one important aspect of that challenge: white Australia's dealings with the indigenous people of the land, tracing the significance of the Aboriginal presence in three texts selected from the oeuvre of Patrick White: Voss (1957), Riders in the Chariot (1961), and A Fringe of Leaves (1976). Each of these texts interrogates European culture's denigration of the non-European Other as embedded in the discourse of orientalism. One central merit of White's commanding perspective is the constant close attention he pays to European hubris and to the paramount autonomy of indigenous culture. There is evidence even of a project which can be articulated as a search for the possibility of white indigeneity, the potential for the white settler's belonging within the land as does the indigene.
Number of pages: 207
Weight: 508 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 24 mm
Shortlisted for the Macrae Russell Award 2011. From the Judges' Report: "While this research draws on post-colonial re-readings and Said's well known thesis on Orientalism, the breadth, intellectual scope and understanding of political, historical and social context is not limited by the fineness of focus on only three of Patrick White's novels. In each there is an illuminating contribution to (and enhancement of) scholarship in the field of literary studies but also the cultural analysis of race relations in Australia. There are well-illustrated prior representations of relationships between settler and Indigenous peoples and the demonstration of the pioneering ways in which Patrick White has engaged with these issues is well achieved." "Vanden Driesen's main concern affords a refreshing take on a writer who, in the past, has occasionally been caricatured as an misanthropic reactionary." - Anne le Guellec-Minel, University of Brest
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