Patrick White (2256 words)

Brian Kiernan (University of Sydney)
Download PDF Save to Bookshelf Tweet Report an Error


Patrick White (1912-90) is the only Australian to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature. By 1973, when he received that award for having “introduced a new continent into literature”, he had acquired an international reputation for his novels, which had been first published in America and England before being translated into many languages. The basic situation recurring throughout his prolific writing is the attempt, most often by individuals alienated from society, to grasp some higher, more essential reality beyond or behind social existence. While his characters are poetically presented as seeking a state of pure being – which they have intuitively glimpsed either in childhood, in a crucial moment of illumination or at the …

Citation: Kiernan, Brian. "Patrick White". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 August 2005 [, accessed 07 August 2022.]

4694 Patrick White 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.