DAVID Marr's monumental biography of Patrick White invites a rereading of White's novels. Marr, like any good biographer intent on revealing the life rather than the art, emphasises the ways that White's fiction can be read as disguised portrayal of his experience. As a reaction to this emphasis, though, the literary critic may be inclined to insist on the created nature of the fiction, on its departure from the record of a life. We might even recall White's own scorn for journalistic realism, and his mockery of the jackeroo-novelist in The Vivisector who couldn't write the great Australian novel because he hadn't experienced enough.
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