Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/11187
Title: Patrick White and the Study of French Literature
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S (author)
Publication Date: 1987
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/11187
Abstract: "Before leaving Cheltenham I enjoyed a brief flirtation with France and the French language when I boarded with a family at Dieppe ... I think a passion for France can only develop with maturity." ('Flaws in the Glass', p. 36) "I also wandered over a lot of Europe during the years between Cambridge and the War ... All my novels are an accumulation of detail ... [from] Stendhal, Flaubert ... and Balzac." (1) Patrick White, as craftsman and thinker, is the product of many differing cultural forces, literary, psychological, familial and personal, of which several literary influences were traditional and European. As he has recalled recently, his studies in French and German "were ... part of the blundering search for a means of self-expression and fulfilment" ('Flaws in the Glass', p. 35). Both languages and their literatures were important areas for the young literary aspirant's training and for the mould of his response to life around him. To date, criticism of White has been cautious of delving into the continental models for his works, and most scholarly studies are peculiarly guarded in their reference to sources in French and German classic fiction. Yet Patrick White, in his early work particularly, has often been seen to be in the tradition of such "feminine" writers as Gustave Flaubert, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Robert Musil and many other important writers concerned with the interpretation of the female being and with the mystery and vitality of the inner life. In his published autobiography, he recalls that, at an early age, other boys expressed "scorn ... for a feminine sensibility which they despised". This personal quality was peculiarly enforced by his early reading both academic and private. The origins of this literary stress on the feminine principle lie in the Romantic and post-Romantic movement in European literature, particularly in France.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Commonwealth Essays and Studies, 9(2), p. 77-83
Publisher: Societe d'Etude des Pays du Commonwealth [Society for the Study of Commonwealth Countries]
Place of Publication: Montpellier, France
ISSN: 0395-6989
0385-6989
Field of Research (FOR): 200306 French Language
200512 Literature in German
169901 Gender Specific Studies
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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