Decomposing Suburbia: Patrick White’s Perversity


While Patrick White's writing is often vehemently anti-suburban, it is seldom interested in simplistic notions of physical escape or flight. On the contrary, White's resistance to suburbia frequently consists in staging the instability and potential perversity inherent in forms of representation that consolidate a commercialised image of the good life. Suburbia in White's writing is less a place than an aesthetic practice that attempts to enforce a certain kind of representational prohibition, screening out that which disturbs the suburban idyll and its orientation to conjugality and consumerism.

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Published 1 November 1998 in Writing the Everyday: Australian Literature and the Limits of Suburbia. Subjects: Aesthetics, Australian architecture, Australian culture, Australian literature and writers, Characterisation, Human condition, Sexuality & sexual identity, Suburbs, Patrick White.

Cite as: McCann, Andrew. ‘Decomposing Suburbia: Patrick White’s Perversity.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 18, no. 4, 1998, doi: 10.20314/als.c705e2407a.