Tomorrow the read along of Patrick White’s “Voss” will commence. White is Australia’s only Nobel Laureate in Literature, and winner of the inaugural Miles Franklin Award, Australia’s, self-proclaimed, pre-eminent literary award. The Miles Franklin Award was won 60 years ago in 1957 and the Nobel in 1973.
The Guardian’s “100 best novels” rated “Voss” number 77 on their list, commenting;
Until the 1950s Australian poetry and fiction, like American literature in the 19th century, was in thrall to dusty English models. Angry and often obscure, deeply intellectual and gay, Patrick White liberated his readers from a cultural prison. Parts of Voss, notably the treatment of Indigenous Australians – “black swine” to the explorer – remain contentious but White is a founding father of the literary independence movement that followed in the 1970s and 80s.
The Guardian article also notes that “the distinguished Australian poet AD Hope once said of White that, although he “shows on every page some touch of the born writer”, he nevertheless lacked style, choosing “as his medium this pretentious and illiterate verbal sludge”.”
As you start your “Voss” read along you may find the literary style and wordiness “pretentious and illiterate verbal sludge” something I hope a few of you comment on during the reading.
A couple of other questions for your journey;
From the first chapter is it obvious the three players here are Voss, Laura and the harsh new Australian colony and landscape?
Like Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is it obvious that Voss’ journey into the interior is also a march towards self realisation and oblivion?
As I mentioned in my post in December when I decided to start a read along of this novel please join in the debate whether here via comments, or Twitter @messy_tony I’m also more than happy to open my blog to guest posts, and would love to have as many people as possible join in for this one off event.
A number of well known bloggers are joining the journey, so please join in, the more the merrier.
Good luck with your journey of this iconic Australian novel, may your reading be pleasurable.