White, Patrick Victor Martindale

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

White, Patrick Victor Martindale


Born May 28, 1912, in London. Australian writer.

White graduated from Cambridge University in 1935 and served with the British Royal Air Force from 1940 to 1945. Since 1949 he has made his home in Australia. His early novel, Happy Valley (1939), a psychological family drama, in many ways foreshadows his later works. In his novels, White deals with the basic philosophical problems of mankind, viewing them, however, within the social and historical context of modern Australia, where spiritual values have been largely replaced by the symbols of material affluence. The themes he chooses concern the perennial question of the meaning of life, the difficulty of human beings to achieve mutual understanding, and pain and suffering as means to self-knowledge. White’s most acclaimed novels are The Tree of Man (1955; Russian translation, 1976), an epic about the life of an Australian squatter; The Vivisector (1970), a study of the creative artist and his work; and The Eye of the Storm (1973), the story of a strong individual and the power of money.

White’s style combines a variety of speech patterns with poetic symbolism and stinging realism. The author effectively juxtaposes the inspired and the grotesque, often resorting to the comic, as well, to reveal the tragedy of human existence. White, who has also published anthologies of plays (Four Plays, 1965) and poems, won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1973.


The Aunt’s Story. London, 1948.
Voss. London, 1957.
Riders in the Chariot. London, 1961.
The Burnt Ones. London-New York, 1964.
The Solid Mándala. London, 1966.
The Cockatoos. London, 1974.


Argyle, B. Patrick White. Edinburgh-London, 1967.
Wilkes, G. A. [Editor.] Ten Essays on Patrick White. [Sydney, 1970.]
Dutton, G. Patrick White. Melbourne, 1971.
Morley,P. A. The Mystery of Unity. Montreal-London, 1972.
Finch, J. H. A Bibliography of Patrick White. Adelaide, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.