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y The Aunt's Story single work   novel  
First known date: 1948 Issue Details: First known date: 1948 1948
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'With the death of her mother, middle-aged Theodora Goodman contemplates the desert of her life. Freed from the trammels of convention, she leaves Australia for a European tour and becomes involved with the residents of a small French hotel. But creating other people's lives, even in love and pity, can lead to madness. Her ability to reconcile joy and sorrow is an unbearable torture to her. On the journey home, Theodora finds there is little to choose between the reality of illusion and the illusion of reality. She looks for peace, even if it is beyond the borders of insanity.' (From the publisher's website.)

Notes

  • Dedication: For Betty Withycombe
  • Epigraphs from Olive Schreiner's The Story of an African Farm begin Parts One and Three. An epigraph from Henry Miller's Black Spring begins Part Two.
  • Hubber and Smith note a 1976 Japanese translation which was published in one volume with the work of Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson.
  • Other formats: Also braille and sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Routledge , 1948 .
      Extent: 346p.
      Note/s:
      • First published in September 1948.
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Viking , 1948 .
      Extent: 281p.
      Reprinted: 1948 , 1962 Compass Books edition. , 1974
      Note/s:
      • First published in January 1948.
    • Toronto, Ontario,
      c
      Canada,
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Macmillan , 1948 .
      6688924132436187738.jpg
      This image has been sourced from Wikipedia.
      Extent: 281p.
    • Harmondsworth, Middlesex,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Penguin , 1963 .
      Extent: 287p.
      Reprinted: 1969 , 1971 , 1974 , 1976 , 1977 , 1982 , 1987 , 1985 , 1988 , 1993
    • Harmondsworth, Middlesex,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Mitcham, Blackburn - Mitcham - Vermont area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 1963 .
      Extent: 299p.
      Reprinted: 1969 , 1971 , 1974 , 1981
      Note/s:
      • Australian issue.
      Series: Penguin Books Penguin Books (publisher), series - publisher Number in series: AU5
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Avon Books , 1975 .
      Extent: 290p.
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vintage , 1994 .
      Extent: 286p.
      ISBN: 0099324016
Alternative title: Mai un passo amico
Language: Italian

Works about this Work

On Reading The Aunt’s Story by Patrick White Fiona McFarlane , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 75 no. 2 2016; (p. 17-31)
'The Aunt's Story was published in 1948. It was White's third novel, after Happy Valley and The Living and the Dead. He began it not long after the end of the war and wrote the first section, "Meroe", at a table in London, the second section, "Jardin Exotique", on a balcony in Alexandria, and the third, "Hosstius", on the deck of a ship as he sailed home to Australia. He arrived in Sydney wielding the manuscript as "a shield of a kind", and it was accepted by his American publishers with an acknowledgement that it was very fine but probably wouldn't sell. White was dismayed by the novel's reception in Australia. When his mother Ruth read it, she said to him, "Such a pity you didn't write about a cheery aunt" (White Flaws 58). (Introduction 17)
Patrick White, Composer Manqué : The Centrality of Music in White's Artistic Aspiration John Carmody , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 29 no. 1 2015; (p. 153-161)
'Australian writer Patrick White was burdened with the reputation of a misanthrope. This was, perhaps, self-inflicted but it allowed many to disregard the sensitivity and insights of his writing. It is nevertheless surprising that most critics and readers seem unaware of his deep engagement with music. Certainly, few (if any) literary critics appear to recognize the significance of music in his output. Here, Carmody contends that not only was music profoundly important to White as a human being, but that it fundamentally drove his work. Without a recognition of this crucial importance of music, it is impossible to understand adequately White's aesthetic aspiration.' (Publication abstract)
The Doubling of Reality in Patrick White's The Aunt's Story and Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness Aruna Wittmann , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Patrick White beyond the Grave : New Critical Perspectives 2015; (p. 141-153)
'This chapter reads two accounts of madness from different discursive fields alongside one another. It looks at how these accounts - one from a fictional text, The Aunt's Story (1948) by Patrick White, and the other from a memoir, Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (1903) - share common features...' (Author's introduction 141)
Desperate, Marvellous Shuttling : White's Ambivalent Modernism Gail Jones , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Patrick White beyond the Grave : New Critical Perspectives 2015; (p. 155-162)
'Gail Jones...brings Theodor Adorno's characterisation of the post-war era, T.J. Clark's thoughts on modernist visual imagery and Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project into dialogue with White's post-war novel, The Aunt's Story, providing a deeply insightful mediation on its infamous middle section, the 'Jardin Exotique', to reassess the controversial spiritualism of White's work. (Introduction 9)
Going into Dreamland : From Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland to Patrick White’s The Aunt’s Story John Beston , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 29 no. 2 2015; (p. 343-352)
'My chief purpose in this essay is to discuss influences that helped shape Patrick White's thought as he wrote the most individual of his novels, The Aunt's Story (1948). I also seek to place The Aunt's Story in historical context in its theme of the exploration of the psyche through the analysis of dreaming. That important theme was propelled into late nineteenth- early twentieth-century literature by Lewis Carrol's two stories, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking -Glass (1871)...(343)
Patrick White A Theatre of His Own Andrew Fuhrmann , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , November no. 356 2013;
'A New Continent into Literature' : Patrick White's World Literature Georgina Loveridge , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Scenes of Reading : Is Australian Literature a World Literature? 2013; (p. 137-146)

'This chapter turns its attention to the transnational impulse of Patrick White's works: their weaving in and out of spatial, temporal, cultural, linguistic and literary contexts. From as early as White's first novel Happy Valley in 1939, and as late as his recent posthumous novel, The Hanging Garden, dated 1981, we can trace this impulse. [...] Taken together, White's works reveal a consistent set of spatial reference points or coordinates, between and through which they move. These lie within, without and along national boundaries,at the sub-, supra- and transnational levels. This chapter traces the development of White's transnational aesthetic, his representation of transnational flows' [p. 137].

A Clockwise Smile of the First Australian Nobel Prize Winner : Translating Patrick White Nataša Kampmark , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 27 no. 2 2013; (p. 161-165)
'Our Kind of Country' : Writing Australia from New Mexico Nicholas Jose , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Magnificent Obsessions : Honouring the Lives of Hazel Rowley 2013; (p. 104-121)
Ladies and Gentlemen? Language, Body and Identity in The Aunt's Story and The Twyborn Affair Bridget Grogan , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , October vol. 28 no. 3 2013; (p. 59-71)
A Fringe of Leaves : Australian Modernity and Southern Perspectives Raewyn Connell , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Continuum : Journal of Media & Cultural Studies , vol. 26 no. 2 2012; (p. 207-214)
'Patrick White's novel A Fringe of Leaves, written in the 1970s, resonated with a renewed questioning of the European presence on Australian land and its significance for cultural issues. A debate about coloniality in the social sciences is now happening globally, especially questioning the global North's apparent monopoly of theory. Multiple structures of knowledge are found in the colonized world: indigenous knowledges, the analysis of colonialism by the colonized, and analysis of the societies and global structures produced by imperialism. Key authors on these topics are introduced. Australian modernity needs to be considered in the light of the lively debates about these issues now occurring across the global South.' (Author's abstract)
Portrait Emerges of White the Artist as a Young Man Michael Heyward , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 24 August 2012; (p. 15)
Resuscitating the Body : Corporeality in the Fiction of Patrick White Bridget Grogan , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 12 no. 3 2012;
'This essay argues that Patrick White's commitment to transcendentalism does not involve a dismissal or rejection of corporeality as critics in the past have maintained, but rather focuses on the dissolution of discursive subjectivity. It contends that White's writing in fact advances the ontological, ethical and metaphysical imperative of accepting the body, prioritizing moments of 'transcendence' that may be viewed productively as characters' engulfment within the material world. In its focus on physicality, White's fiction emphasizes dualism in order to problematize it, and even at times to subvert it. Crucial to this aspect of his fiction is his tendency to create characters exhibiting opposing attitudes towards the flesh. This essay explores the manifestation of these opposing attitudes within White's writing. Ultimately, it argues for a reading of White that is sensitive to the strong theme of corporeality in evidence throughout the oeuvre. It suggests that White's attention to the body assists in his rejection of hubris, repudiation, repression and abjection and promotes a human possibility defined by humility, simplicity, compassion and love.' (Author's abstract)
The Solid Mandala and Patrick White’s Late Modernity Nicholas Birns , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , November vol. 4 no. 1 2011;
'This essay contends that the Australian novelist Patrick White (1912-1990) presents, in his novel The Solid Mandala (1966), a prototypical evocation of late modernity that indicates precisely why and how it was different from the neoliberal and postmodern era that succeeded it. Late modernity is currently emerging as a historical period, though still a nascent and contested one. Robert Hassan speaks of the 1950-1970 era as a period which, in its 'Fordist' mode of production maintained a certain conformity yet held off the commoditisation of later neoliberalism's 'network-driven capitalism'. This anchors the sense of 'late modernity,' that will operate in this essay, though my sense of the period also follows on definitions of the term established, in very different contexts, by Edward Lucie-Smith and Tyrus Miller.' (Author's introduction)
The Silver Age of Fiction Peter Pierce , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , Summer vol. 70 no. 4 2011; (p. 110-115)
Peter Pierce looks at contemporary Australian fiction to define Australia's 'Silver Age of Australian fiction' .
Encounters : Patrick White & Sid Nolan Shane Maloney , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Monthly , October vol. 61 no. 2010; (p. 74)
Jack Lindsay, Patrick White, and Postcolonial Medievalism Nicholas Birns , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature 2010; (p. 41-54)
y Patrick White Within the Western Literary Tradition John Beston , Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2010 Z1762254 2010 single work criticism 'Patrick White within the Western Literary Tradition is a collection of essays demonstrating the strong influence of European, British, and American cultures on White's work. Representing the author's interest spanning over thirty-five years, the essays expose White's evocation of dimensions other than material reality, his preoccupation with epiphanies and mythmaking, and his constant forging of a poetic style. The book also contains a series of analytical studies of the themes and characters in White's major novels (The Aunt's Story, The Tree of Man and Voss).' Source: http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au (Sighted 25/02/2011).
Three Australian Novels: From Making It to Faking It. Patricia Dobrez , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Art and Authenticity 2010; (p. 95-105)
Perceiving Europe and Australia and Constructing an Imagined Australian Identity in The Aunts’ Story by Patrick White. Elena Ungari , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Imagined Australia : Reflections around the Reciprocal Construction of Identity between Australia and Europe 2009; (p. 353-366)
'This paper examines Patrick White's novel The Aunt's Story and the way in which it fictionally shows mutual scrutiny and perception between Australia and Europe. Central to the elaboration of this study is the notion of fictional viewpoint, which Leech and Short (1986, p 174) define as 'the slanting of the fictional world towards reality, as apprehended by a particular participant, or set of participants, in the fiction'. Notions of distance of viewpoint from an 'outside' or 'inside' perspective and the way in which they affect construction and perception of places are also instrumental in this analysis.' (353)
Old Gold Rhianna Boyle , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Syntax , no. 6 2003; (p. 23-24)

— Review of The Aunt's Story Patrick White 1948 single work novel
Untitled Sidney J. Baker , 1959 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 21 February 1959; (p. 19)

— Review of The Mirage F. B. Vickers 1955 single work novel ; The Aunt's Story Patrick White 1948 single work novel ; You Can't See Round Corners Jon Cleary 1947 single work novel
Sublime Madness? Peter Coleman , 1959 single work review
— Appears in: The Observer , 7 February vol. 2 no. 3 1959; (p. 87)

— Review of To the Islands Randolph Stow 1958 single work novel ; The Aunt's Story Patrick White 1948 single work novel
Untitled John Woodburn , 1948 single work review
— Appears in: New Republic , 16 February vol. 118 no. 7 1948; (p. 27-28)

— Review of The Aunt's Story Patrick White 1948 single work novel
The Imago R. G. Howarth , 1950 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 11 no. 4 1950; (p. 209-210)

— Review of The Aunt's Story Patrick White 1948 single work novel
Theodora Again Marjorie Barnard , 1959 single work review
— Appears in: Southerly , vol. 20 no. 1 1959; (p. 51-55)

— Review of The Aunt's Story Patrick White 1948 single work novel
Untitled James McAuley , 1959 single work review
— Appears in: Quadrant , Spring vol. 3 no. 4 1959; (p. 91,93)

— Review of The Aunt's Story Patrick White 1948 single work novel
A Patrick White Novel Nancy Keesing , 1959 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 4 November vol. 80 no. 4160 1959; (p. 59)

— Review of The Aunt's Story Patrick White 1948 single work novel
Second Look Peter Craven , 2002 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 8 September 2002; (p. 12)

— Review of The Aunt's Story Patrick White 1948 single work novel
Imagery and Structure in Patrick White's Novels Karin Hansson , 1991 single work criticism
— Appears in: Breaking Circles 1991; (p. 175-181)
Patrick White and the Aesthetics of Death Noel Macainsh , 1987 single work criticism
— Appears in: LiNQ , vol. 15 no. 2 1987; (p. 2-14) The Pathos of Distance 1992; (p. 290-303)
Mandala Symbolism in the Novels of Patrick White Shaik Samad , 1995-1996 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Commonwealth Review , vol. 7 no. 1 1995-1996; (p. 117-123)
Patrick White: An International Perspective John Colmer , 1991 single work criticism
— Appears in: Breaking Circles 1991; (p. 182-196)
Patrick White and Theodora Goodman in New Mexico John Beston , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 18 no. 2 2004; (p. 171-173)
Back to the Abyss : Patrick White's Early Novels A. P. Riemer , 1987 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , December vol. 47 no. 4 1987; (p. 347-369)
Aunts' Travels Mark McGinness , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 27 - 28 January 2007; (p. 25)
2009 an HSC Odyssey Hannah Edwards , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 22 July 2007; (p. 9)
The column discusses the new draft list of works to be taught in New South Wales schools from 2009. Only the new Australian works to be added have been listed here.
y The God-Shaped Hole : Responding to the Good News in Australia Veronica Brady , Adelaide : ATF Press , 2008 Z1533434 2008 selected work criticism This book brings together a selection of Veronica Brady's critical addresses arguing that there are novels and poems that bear witness to the mystery of 'God' or an 'Other' who speaks through others.
Theodora Goodman and the Minds of Mortals : Patrick White's The aunt's Story Douglas Loney , 1982 single work criticism
— Appears in: English Studies in Canada , vol. 8 no. 1982; (p. 483-500)
Perceiving Europe and Australia and Constructing an Imagined Australian Identity in The Aunts’ Story by Patrick White. Elena Ungari , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Imagined Australia : Reflections around the Reciprocal Construction of Identity between Australia and Europe 2009; (p. 353-366)
'This paper examines Patrick White's novel The Aunt's Story and the way in which it fictionally shows mutual scrutiny and perception between Australia and Europe. Central to the elaboration of this study is the notion of fictional viewpoint, which Leech and Short (1986, p 174) define as 'the slanting of the fictional world towards reality, as apprehended by a particular participant, or set of participants, in the fiction'. Notions of distance of viewpoint from an 'outside' or 'inside' perspective and the way in which they affect construction and perception of places are also instrumental in this analysis.' (353)
Encounters : Patrick White & Sid Nolan Shane Maloney , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Monthly , October vol. 61 no. 2010; (p. 74)
Jack Lindsay, Patrick White, and Postcolonial Medievalism Nicholas Birns , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature 2010; (p. 41-54)
y Patrick White Within the Western Literary Tradition John Beston , Sydney : Sydney University Press , 2010 Z1762254 2010 single work criticism 'Patrick White within the Western Literary Tradition is a collection of essays demonstrating the strong influence of European, British, and American cultures on White's work. Representing the author's interest spanning over thirty-five years, the essays expose White's evocation of dimensions other than material reality, his preoccupation with epiphanies and mythmaking, and his constant forging of a poetic style. The book also contains a series of analytical studies of the themes and characters in White's major novels (The Aunt's Story, The Tree of Man and Voss).' Source: http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au (Sighted 25/02/2011).
The Solid Mandala and Patrick White’s Late Modernity Nicholas Birns , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Transnational Literature , November vol. 4 no. 1 2011;
'This essay contends that the Australian novelist Patrick White (1912-1990) presents, in his novel The Solid Mandala (1966), a prototypical evocation of late modernity that indicates precisely why and how it was different from the neoliberal and postmodern era that succeeded it. Late modernity is currently emerging as a historical period, though still a nascent and contested one. Robert Hassan speaks of the 1950-1970 era as a period which, in its 'Fordist' mode of production maintained a certain conformity yet held off the commoditisation of later neoliberalism's 'network-driven capitalism'. This anchors the sense of 'late modernity,' that will operate in this essay, though my sense of the period also follows on definitions of the term established, in very different contexts, by Edward Lucie-Smith and Tyrus Miller.' (Author's introduction)
The Silver Age of Fiction Peter Pierce , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , Summer vol. 70 no. 4 2011; (p. 110-115)
Peter Pierce looks at contemporary Australian fiction to define Australia's 'Silver Age of Australian fiction' .
A Fringe of Leaves : Australian Modernity and Southern Perspectives Raewyn Connell , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Continuum : Journal of Media & Cultural Studies , vol. 26 no. 2 2012; (p. 207-214)
'Patrick White's novel A Fringe of Leaves, written in the 1970s, resonated with a renewed questioning of the European presence on Australian land and its significance for cultural issues. A debate about coloniality in the social sciences is now happening globally, especially questioning the global North's apparent monopoly of theory. Multiple structures of knowledge are found in the colonized world: indigenous knowledges, the analysis of colonialism by the colonized, and analysis of the societies and global structures produced by imperialism. Key authors on these topics are introduced. Australian modernity needs to be considered in the light of the lively debates about these issues now occurring across the global South.' (Author's abstract)
Portrait Emerges of White the Artist as a Young Man Michael Heyward , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 24 August 2012; (p. 15)
Three Australian Novels: From Making It to Faking It. Patricia Dobrez , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Art and Authenticity 2010; (p. 95-105)
Resuscitating the Body : Corporeality in the Fiction of Patrick White Bridget Grogan , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 12 no. 3 2012;
'This essay argues that Patrick White's commitment to transcendentalism does not involve a dismissal or rejection of corporeality as critics in the past have maintained, but rather focuses on the dissolution of discursive subjectivity. It contends that White's writing in fact advances the ontological, ethical and metaphysical imperative of accepting the body, prioritizing moments of 'transcendence' that may be viewed productively as characters' engulfment within the material world. In its focus on physicality, White's fiction emphasizes dualism in order to problematize it, and even at times to subvert it. Crucial to this aspect of his fiction is his tendency to create characters exhibiting opposing attitudes towards the flesh. This essay explores the manifestation of these opposing attitudes within White's writing. Ultimately, it argues for a reading of White that is sensitive to the strong theme of corporeality in evidence throughout the oeuvre. It suggests that White's attention to the body assists in his rejection of hubris, repudiation, repression and abjection and promotes a human possibility defined by humility, simplicity, compassion and love.' (Author's abstract)
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