Patrick Victor Martindale White was a novelist and playwright from Australia. He was the first person from Australia to win the Nobel Prize for literature. People think he is one of the most important writers to write in English in the 20th century. His work is made up of twelve novels, three collections of short stories, and eight plays. Even though White wrote about all things Australian, his ideas were not limited to one country or time. White’s works show that Australia’s growth is happening in an unpredictable way. He thinks about how violence could happen in this situation. His ideas about his home country are shown in books like “The Tree of Man,” “The Solid Mandala,” and “The Twyborn Affair.” He also wrote plays like “Night on the Bald Mountain” and “Season at Sarsaparilla,” which show how he used symbols and allegories in his writing. His stories are postmodern; they have more than one point of view and use the “stream of consciousness” method. Patrick White was very worried about how people felt cut off from society and how they tried to find a purpose in a world without meaning. When the writer won the Nobel Prize, he became famous in Australia, which he did not like at all. The Hanging Garden, his last unfinished book, was published after he died.
Early years and childhood
On May 28, 1912, Victor Martindale White and Ruth née Withycombe gave birth to Patrick White in Knightsbridge, London. Both of his parents were English people from Australia.
The White family moved back to Sydney, Australia, when White was six months old.
At the age of four, White had asthma because it was in his family. His health was weak when he was a child, so he couldn’t do many things that other kids did.
In 1917, he went to the Sandtoft kindergarten in Woollahra.
At the age of ten, he went to a boarding school called Tudor House School in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. This was done to help him get rid of his asthma. There, he wrote his first plays.
When the boarding school ran out of money in 1924, he was moved to England’s Cheltenham College. White said that his school was like an “English prison.”
He met Ronald Waterall when he was in college. They became close friends and stayed that way until Waterall left school.
White went back to Australia in 1930 and worked as a jackaroo for two years, first in the southern part of New South Wales and then in the north on the property of a Withycombe relative.
White went to King’s College at Cambridge University in England from 1932 to 1935 to study French and German literature.
Patrick White’s Career
White put out a book of poems called “The Ploughman and Other Poems” in 1935. His first play, “Bread and Butter Women,” was also published that same year. This play was put on at Sydney’s Bryant’s Playhouse.
In London, he worked on a novel he had written while jackarooing called “Happy Valley” (1939). He gave it to Roy de Maistre, a painter.
White’s book “The Living and the Dead” came out in 1941 from the “Viking Press.” During his time in the United States, he wrote the book.
By 1945, he was working as an intelligence officer in the Middle East for the British Royal Air Force. Before the end of the Second World War, he served in Egypt, Palestine, and Greece.
White’s books “The Aunt’s Story” and “The Tree of Man” came out in England and the United States in 1955. In Australia, these books did not do well.
In the 1960s, he wrote a book of short stories called “The Burnt Ones” and a play called “The Season at Sarsaparilla,” both of which were set in the made-up town of Sarsaparilla.
In 1968, White wrote “The Vivisector,” which is a character study of an artist with a lot of depth.
In 1981, he wrote an autobiography called “Flaws in the Glass: a Self-Portrait.” In it, he talked about things like being gay and not accepting the Nobel Prize in person.
His last book, “Memoirs of Many in One,” came out in 1986. It was written under the name “Alex Xenophon Demirjian Gray.”
White wrote “Three Uneasy Pieces,” a collection of short stories, in 1987. It was about his thoughts on getting older and being a great artist.
His Major Works
“Voss,” which came out in 1957 and was based on the life of the explorer and naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt, is thought to be Patrick White’s most successful book. It was made into an opera in 1986 and performed at the Adelaide Festival of Arts.
Awards & Achievements
White won the first Miles Franklin Literary Award for “Voss” and the second Miles Franklin Award for “Riders in the Chariot.”
His book “The Vivisector” was in the running for the 1970 Lost Man Booker Prize.
In 1973, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature for the unique way he told stories from a psychological point of view. He used the money from the prize to set up a trust that will pay for the Patrick White Award, which goes to unknown writers who are very good at what they do.
The House of Representatives asked him to come because of what he had done, but he turned down the offer.
In 1974, Patrick White was chosen as the “Australian of the Year.”
Personal History and Legacies
Patrick White liked both men and women. His first love was with a priest who was also a student at King’s College.
In 1936, White met Maistre, an Australian artist who was well known. Maistre had a big impact on White’s life and career, even though they were never lovers.
During his time in the Middle East, White met the Greek army officer who would become his life partner. After the war, they moved to Castle Hill, Australia, and lived there for 18 years.
After the 1970s, his health began to get worse, and on September 30, 1990, he died in Sydney.
White’s play “The Season at Sarsaparilla” was put on by the Sydney Theatre Company in 2009, and “The Eye of the Storm” was turned into a movie by Fred Schepisi in 2011.
Estimated Net worth
Patrick White is one of the wealthiest authors, and he is also on the list of the most popular authors. Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider all say that Patrick White has a net worth of about $1.5 million.
“Patrick White, A Life,” which is a book about the author, was written by David Marr. In the book, he says that White was nice to his hosts but often got into fights with his critics and friends.