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Otherness in the Novels of Patrick White


Alma Budurlean

The central argument of the thesis, the representation and reception of otherness, is followed throughout White’s novels with the support of a complex critical instrumentarium made up of postcolonial theory, reader response theory, cultural-critical frameworks, alterity theory, and narratology. Otherness in its manifold representations is a main component of Patrick White’s fiction. It functions on several levels and this requires a deeper entanglement on the part of the reader. The different levels previously referred to are embodied in the various Others who people White’s novels: ethnic Others as members of the Australian multicultural society and the Aborigines as colonial Others, as well as gender Others, who also play an important role in White’s fictional world. Reading Patrick White is an exercise in tolerance, endurance and acceptance of alternatives. But the efforts of the reader do not remain unrewarded. In his endeavour to change what it meant to imagine Australia, the writer broke down the barriers of what it meant to imagine otherness.
Contents: Introducing Patrick White – The Biographical Other – Australia - a Country of the Mind – Outsiders Inside – The Selfhood of the Other – Conclusions.