'Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naïve young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent. As hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality.
'From the careful delineation of Victorian society to the sensitive rendering of hidden love to the stark narrative of adventure in the Australian desert, Patrick White's novel is a work of extraordinary power and virtuosity.'
Source: Random House Books (Sighted 21/09/2012)
'In Reading Corporeality in Patrick White's Fiction: An Abject Dictatorship of the Flesh, Bridget Grogan combines theoretical explication, textual comparison, and close reading to argue that corporeality is central to Patrick White's fiction, shaping the characterization, style, narrative trajectories, and implicit philosophy of his novels and short stories. Critics have often identified a radical disgust at play in White's writing, claiming that it arises from a defining dualism that posits the 'purity' of the disembodied 'spirit' in relation to the 'pollution' of the material world. Grogan argues convincingly, however, that White's fiction is far more complex in its approach to the body. Modeling ways in which Kristevan theory may be applied to modern fiction, her close attention to White's recurring interest in physicality and abjection draws attention to his complex questioning of metaphysics and subjectivity, thereby providing a fresh and compelling reading of this important world author.'
Patrick White's novel Voss is a very interesting example of a reinterpretation of one of the two most recurrent historical figures to appear in Australian fiction: Indeed, both Ludwig Leichhardt, on whom the character of Voss was based, and Ned Kelly, the other favourite national icon of Australian poets, short-story writers, and novelists, are representative of two crucial figures in national mythologies — the explorer and the bushranger. ' (Introduction)
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’.