Patrick White: Voss

(2382 words)
  • Brian Kiernan (University of Sydney)
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 9.1.1: Australian Writing and Culture.

Set in colonial Australia during the 1840s, and invoking narratives of exploration from that time, Voss encompasses an extensive range of references: historical (but also, by implication, contemporary), stylistic and, covertly, autobiographical. Although the novel’s narration is distanced by irony throughout, White’s attribution of its conception to his experiences of the Middle-Eastern deserts during the second World War—the war he later described in his autobiographical essay “The Prodigal Son” ( Australian Letters 1,1958. p. 39) as being against the “arch megalomaniac” Hitler—and also to his reading the journals and accounts of early Australian explorers after his disappointed return to …

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Kiernan, Brian. "Voss". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 September 2006
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]