Patrick White’s Fiction

The Paradox of Fortunate Failure

  • Authors
  • Carolyn Bliss

Part of the Studies in 20th Century Literature book series (STCL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Carolyn Bliss
    Pages 1-14
  3. Carolyn Bliss
    Pages 15-59
  4. Carolyn Bliss
    Pages 60-132
  5. Carolyn Bliss
    Pages 133-183
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 208-255

About this book


This study examines all eleven novels of Patrick White, the great Australian writer and Nobel Prize-winner. It begins from the observation that major characters in his novels undergo a necessary, redemptive, or facilitating failure. This failure paradoxically enables their success within the context of what White has called the 'overreaching grandeur' which circumscribes human existence. Evolution of this theme is traced through forty years of White's fiction: from his first novel, Happy Valley (1939), to his most recent work, The Twyborn Affair (1979). Comprehensive in its scope, this book is informed by a thorough knowledge of White's poetry, plays, short stories, and autobiography, as well as his novels. It is also unique in stressing that White's world view derives from a distinctly Australian experience. It thus links him to a country in which he is deeply rooted and to a heritage he continued to affirm.


Australia bibliography biography experience fiction knowledge novel play poetry style

Bibliographic information