Last Flight to Byzantium: Memoirs of Many in One


The nature of art and reality and their relation to each other has always been a major preoccupation of artists and acquired a new intensity in the twentieth century with both the certainties and doubts resulting from scientific discoveries and the growth of new disciplines in the humanities, particularly psychology, psychoanalysis and various branches of linguistics. Unlike some of his contemporaries who have taken part in debates on the developing history of ideas, Patrick White has generally refrained from expressing interest in them and has only referred explicitly to the religious and psychological thought that influenced him, such as Jewish mysticism and Jungian psychology. He asserted on various occasions that he was not an intellectual but brought forth whatever he had to express through the senses and intuition (Flaws 236). Certainly, he was not given to abstract statements but a preoccupation with the nature of reality and its relation to art does lie at the heart of his work and informs all its major aspects.

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Published 1 June 1991 in European Perspectives: Contemporary Essays on Australian Literature. Subjects: Art, Australian novels & novelists, Autobiographies, Imagination, Literature & writers, Narrative techniques, Reality, Patrick White.

Cite as: Maes-Jelinek, Hena. ‘Last Flight to Byzantium: Memoirs of Many in One.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 15, no. 2, 1991, doi: 10.20314/als.59920111e7.