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'The Twyborn Affair (1979) critically confronts the politics of sex while revealing the author's private inner world. Patrick White's last novel but one adumbrates the representation of traditionally invisible alternative models of sexuality in literature which, according to Robert Dessaix, have been given topicality in the 1980s and 1990s due to a loosening of sexual repression. The themes of homosexuality and transvestism which White tackled earlier in his fiction are now the cynosure of all eyes and fused with identity concerns, even though the author did not intend his novel to be a piece of queer activism.
The Twyborn Affair is quintessentially a social comedy verging on the comedy of errors in which the traditional gendered dichotomy is subverted in order to blur clear-cut distinctions between what is meant to be masculine and feminine. This essay will explore the themes of literary representation, psychology, seduction, gender deconstruction, sexual identity and the politics of ambiguity in relation to male beauty in the novel.' (Author's introduction)