Proserpina and Pluto, Ariadne and Bacchus: Myth in Patrick White’s ‘Dead Roses’


White's use of myth in Dead Roses is organic, not casual or accidental. Not the least of its merits is that it helps to buoy up the comedy of the story, which might so easily have become submerged in the prevailing atmosphere of melancholy and pathos. Yet, like most other successful essays in mock heroic, it dignifies its subject matter at the same time as it ridicules it. The mythic level of reference helps White to establish in the reader's mind an image of the scintillating Anthea who might have stood alongside the image of the tarnished Anthea who actually exists.

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Published 1 May 1981 in Volume 10 No. 1. Subjects: Mythology, Patrick White.

Cite as: Nelson, Timothy G.A.. ‘Proserpina and Pluto, Ariadne and Bacchus: Myth in Patrick White’s ‘Dead Roses’.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 10, no. 1, 1981, doi: 10.20314/als.ad2a1b6be3.