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The Australian National University

Patrick White – a misogynist?

Presenter/s: Honorary Associate Professor Jyoti Nandan, SLLL, ANU

Event type: Seminar

Event date: Thursday, 24 August 2017 - 1:00pm

Event venue: Milgate Rm, AD Hope Bldg, ANU

Patrick White – A Misogynist? (With special focus on The Twyborn Affair)

Patrick White has been called a misogynist. My paper discusses to what extent this is the case. There is no denying that White’s male characters are drawn in much greater depth and more empathetically than his female characters. White’s initiate, that is, the one with the potential for growth and illumination is almost always male. However, paradoxically, many of White’s central concerns are also the fundamental concerns of feminism. A thread that runs through all his work is the acknowledgement and reconciliation of dualisms which have structured Western and Christian thought. Feminists have argued all along that binary oppositions such as mind/body, masculine/feminine, self/other - common in the cultural construction of reality - underlie women’s subordination as the inequitable valuation of their constituent terms results in a discriminatory conception of the ‘normal’.

Dr Jyoti Nandan is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, ANU. Her research has mainly been in the area of New Literatures in English. She has in the main employed a post-colonial feminist critical approach for the analysis of literary texts in this area.

Image Credit William Yang, (National Portrait Gallery)

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