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y separately published work icon The Aunt's Story single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1948... 1948 The Aunt's Story
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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.)

Exhibitions

7865247
7864170

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 .
      image of person or book cover 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

Magda Meets Theodora : Language and Interiority in The Aunt’s Story and In The Heart of the Country Bill Ashcroft , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , February vol. 33 no. 1 2018;

'In ‘Orders of Discourse’ Foucault raises the deeply embedded opposition between reason and folly: ‘From the depths of the Middle Ages a man was mad if his speech could not be said to form part of the common discourse of men’. This discursive rule becomes magnified in the case of women and of the colonised. In Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country and Patrick White’s The Aunt’s Story, Magda and Theodora demonstrate the precarious marginality of the colonial woman. They are doubly marginalised as colonial women, existing outside settler history, which is the narrative both of the masculine responsibilities of settlement and an attendant sense of displacement. In Coetzee’s novel, Magda plays out a version of The Tempest in which she is subjected both to the Law of the Father and to Caliban, while in The Aunt’s Story Theodora plots a determined path out of the discourse of men into the ambivalently liberating horizon of madness. The differences between the women say as much as the similarities, but both offer a compelling version of the layered marginalities of the female colonial subject. In the writers’ hands the place outside discourse, the peculiar language of the colonial women, becomes the potential location of counter discourse. This essay proposes that the women demonstrate a radical interiority, a capacity to inhabit the lives of others in a way that is considered madness but which enacts the utopian function of literature itself.' (Publication abstract)

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)
Theodora as an Unheard Prophetess in Patrick White's The Aunt's Story Antonella Riem Natale , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , no. 16 2016; (p. 37-49)

This essay takes into consideration some of the themes dear to Veronica

Brady’s heart and present in her profound critical analysis of Australian literature. Veronica often read Patrick White’s work in the light of a spiritual quest and a mystical-mythical vision. Aim of this essay is to investigate how the figure of the aunt, in The Aunt’s Story (1948), embodies one of the isolated and visionary characters in White’s work who transmits a message that superficial contemporary society is unable to understand. I will show how Theodora Goodman’s role as explorer in the inner land of the Self connects her with ancient partnership (Eisler 1987), Goddess’ archetypes, in particular that of the Crone, embodying a “woman of age, wisdom and power” (Bolen 2001). This figure had an important but now forgotten role in ancient gylanic societies (Eisler 1987). Theadora, the Goddess’ gift, as the protagonist’s name should read, is a powerful reminder of the sacred spiritual function of ancient

women-priestess. Theodora is Theadora, a priestess beloved by the Goddess. Contemporary society, being unable to see beyond the ordinary, can only catalogue these sacred figures as ‘mad’.

Full Text PDF

Theodora as an Unheard Prophetess in Patrick White's The Aunt's Story Antonella Riem Natale , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Le Simplegadi , no. 16 2016; (p. 37-49)

This essay takes into consideration some of the themes dear to Veronica

Brady’s heart and present in her profound critical analysis of Australian literature. Veronica often read Patrick White’s work in the light of a spiritual quest and a mystical-mythical vision. Aim of this essay is to investigate how the figure of the aunt, in The Aunt’s Story (1948), embodies one of the isolated and visionary characters in White’s work who transmits a message that superficial contemporary society is unable to understand. I will show how Theodora Goodman’s role as explorer in the inner land of the Self connects her with ancient partnership (Eisler 1987), Goddess’ archetypes, in particular that of the Crone, embodying a “woman of age, wisdom and power” (Bolen 2001). This figure had an important but now forgotten role in ancient gylanic societies (Eisler 1987). Theadora, the Goddess’ gift, as the protagonist’s name should read, is a powerful reminder of the sacred spiritual function of ancient

women-priestess. Theodora is Theadora, a priestess beloved by the Goddess. Contemporary society, being unable to see beyond the ordinary, can only catalogue these sacred figures as ‘mad’.

Full Text PDF

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)
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
[Review] The Mirage [et al] 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
[Review] The Aunt's Story 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
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)
Last amended 19 Jun 2017 11:28:26
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