‘Are You for Magic?’ Patrick White and Camp


"I want to tease out White's 'theatrical' aspect as the camp basis of much of his style, and how this operates across both the plays and novels. The focus will be on the novels, but I want to fold these into White's dramaturgy for the way that each genre speaks to each other. ... The ensuing discussion will come to focus on two tropes that characterise his work—the symbol (which can also operate as a stage image), and anthropomorphism, or the pathetic fallacy—each of which is frequently given to what Anthony Uhlmann calls 'a logic of overstatement' (72). From the analysis of several illustrative samples I draw some inferences regarding White as a late modernist author in a postcolonial context. ... The aim is not to resolve the complex matter of White's camp, but to shift the conversation in new directions. In this regard, I believe that Ross Chambers' notion of 'postcolonial distancing' offers an excellent point of departure, extending the reach of camp into questions of genre and 'the queerness of the postcolonial' (391)."

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Published 1 November 2014 in Volume 29 No. 4. Subjects: LGBTIQ+ literature & writers, Ham Funeral, The, Riders in the Chariot, The, Shepherd on the Rocks, Twyborn Affair, The, Vivisector, The, Voss, Patrick White.

Cite as: Kirkpatrick, Peter. ‘‘Are You for Magic?’ Patrick White and Camp.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 29, no. 4, 2014, doi: 10.20314/als.f6d66f3537.