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White, Patrick (1912-1990)  
page: 1  2  

White never supported the Gay Liberation movement, though his attitude toward his own homosexuality, and that of others, changed as he aged. In his "self-portrait," he disavowed interest in homosexual society.

He was bored by people who discussed their homosexuality as though it was a condition they had discovered: "I see myself not so much a homosexual as a mind possessed by the spirit of man or woman according to actual situations or the characters I become in my writing."

That situation is the one explored in The Twyborn Affair (1979), where the central character appears in the different guises of a homosexual man, a woman, and a transvestite male who runs a (heterosexual) brothel. Nevertheless, homosexuality was a significant theme of this novel, for the first time in White's writing.

Immediately on completion of The Twyborn Affair, he wrote Flaws in the Glass, an autobiography that was a coming-out story designed to shock. During the last decade of his life, White conceded that there was a gay cause, putting his own sexual orientation on the line in an Australia that was still highly resistant to avowals of homosexuality.

Patrick White's last decade was an accomplished, happy one. He renounced his affiliations with the polite Sydney society into which he had been born and mixed with younger artists and theater people. Producers and directors staged his plays in Sydney and Adelaide.

These distinctive and eccentric plays failed to attract large or enthusiastic audiences, and they have not yet received the critical attention of the novels, yet White regarded their productions as the high point of his life and career; through them, he finally established contact with an Australia in which he might feel somewhat at home.

David Marr's 1991 biography, Patrick White: A Life, is exemplary in placing its subject's sexuality at the very center and accounting for the richness of a life and body of work in terms of a particular gay sensibility.

Patrick Holland

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literature >> Overview:  Australian and New Zealand Literatures

In the past two decades Australia has come to occupy a leading place in gay and lesbian literature, and New Zealand has recently produced some significant gay and lesbian texts.

literature >> Overview:  Novel: Gay Male

Since World War II, the gay male novel has progressively flourished in England and especially in America.


Marr, David. Patrick White: A Life. London: Jonathan Cape, 1991.


    Citation Information
    Author: Holland, Patrick  
    Entry Title: White, Patrick  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated May 27, 2002  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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