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the Complete Review
the complete review - non-fiction

Patrick White Speaks

Patrick White

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To purchase Patrick White Speaks

Title: Patrick White Speaks
Author: Patrick White
Genre: Non-fiction
Written: 1958-88
Length: 201 pages
Availability: Patrick White Speaks - US
Patrick White Speaks - UK
Patrick White Speaks - Canada
  • The collected essays, articles and speeches of the Nobel Prize winning novelist

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Our Assessment:

C+ : short pieces, characteristically strong, but mainly dealing with current events that are no longer very current.

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       The great authors -- and White is one of the great ones -- find, after their deaths, all their diverse and sundry writing collected. So White's letters now make a fine, fat volume (edited by his biographer David Marr) -- but before the letter collection came this thin volume of essays, speeches, and articles. They run the gamut, from his Nobel Lecture (which he did not personally deliver, as he did not travel to Stockholm to receive the prize) to a number of speeches against nuclear weapons and for the preservation of various parts of Sydney to a Credo.
       There are interesting titbits here. The Credo is fine, and there are some autobiographical details of interest in the Nobel speech and various others. However, there are also a number of pieces concerned with Australian politics that are dated and, for foreigners and those who are not Aussiephiles, of basically no interest whatsoever. Certainly the issues at issue are of significance, and White expresses his arguments well (and sometimes with an appealing bite to them), but it is not enthralling enough.
       The pieces are fine enough, and White's voice is always a pleasure, but this is an insignificant and ultimately unnecessary book. The few pieces that are of lasting interest could be better placed in a different volume, without so much chaff. Only those delving deeply into his life -- or Australian politics in the 1970's and 80's -- will find the volume of any interest. The rest of you: read his fiction !

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Patrick White Speaks: Patrick White: Other books by Patrick White under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Patrick White (1912-1990), Australian author. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. Schooled in England (at Cheltenham, and King's College, Cambridge). His first novel Happy Valley was published in 1939. Worked for R.A.F Intelligence during WWII, after which he returned to Australia.

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