Patrick White: The Twyborn Affair

(1779 words)
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 9.1.1: Australian Writing and Culture.

The Twyborn Affair (1979) is the last of Patrick White’s novels. It critically confronts the politics of sex and reveals White’s private, inner-world. The novel anticipated the representation of traditionally invisible and alternative models of sexuality in literature, which according to Robert Dessaix, were given topicality in the 1980s and 1990s due to a loosening of sexual repression. White however, did not intend his novel to be a piece of queer activism.

As a psychological tripartite novel, it shows the progress of an ambiguous gender-bender character who bears a new name for each part of his/her life. The protagonist is first Eudoxia (the sexual partner of an ageing Greek man), then Eddie Twyborn (who …

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Vernay, Jean-François. "The Twyborn Affair". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 October 2006
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]