This volume marks the birth centenary of a giant amongst contemporary writers: the Australian Nobel prize-winning novelist, Patrick White. It offers an invaluable insight into the current state of White studies through commentaries drawn from an international galaxy of eminent critics, as well as from newer talents. The book proves that interest in White's work continues to grow and diversify. Every essay offers a new insight: some are re- evaluations by seasoned critics who revise earlier positions significantly; others admit new light onto what has seemed like well-trodden terrain or focus on works perhaps undervalued in the past-his poetry, an early short story or novel-which are now subject to fresh attention. His posthumous work has also won attention from prominent critics. New comparisons with other international writers have been drawn in terms of subject matter, themes and philosophy. The expansion of critical attention into fields like photography and film opens new possibilities for enhancing further appreciation of his work.
White's interest in public issues such as the treatment of Australia's Indigenous peoples, human rights and Australian nationalism is refracted through the inclusion of relevant commentaries from notable contributors.
For the first time in Australian literary history, Indigenous scholars have participated in a celebration of the work of a white Australian writer. All of this highlights a new direction in White studies-the appreciation of his stature as a public intellectual. The book demonstrates that White's legacy has limitless possibilities for further growth.
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