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Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 The Forces of Habit and the Ethics of Self-Composture in Patrick White’s Fiction
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In an early passage from Patrick White’s novel The Twyborn Affair (1979), the protagonist offers a spirited defense of the odors that waft from a man’s body: “Even what you call their smelly smells can have a perverse charm. The smell of an old man, for instance. So many layers of life lived—such a compost!” (52). The metaphor of compost for accumulated life experience is quintessential White, drawing inspiration from the natural world, but also celebrating its grossness rather than its supposed purity.1 It also represents a peculiar way of thinking about the “layers of life lived,” which might be more conventionally represented as inscriptions upon the body (e.g. the lines on the face that tell a story) or as hard geological layers, solidly encrusted around a stable core. Compost is layered, but the layers are loosely assembled, shifting as the organic matter decomposes and the pile recomposes itself accordingly.' (Introduction)

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    y separately published work icon The Comparatist vol. 40 October 2016 10455078 2016 periodical issue 2016 pg. 128-143
Last amended 7 Sep 2017 13:08:19
128-143 The Forces of Habit and the Ethics of Self-Composture in Patrick White’s Fictionsmall AustLit logo The Comparatist
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