PATRICK WHITE:THE TWYBORN AFFAIR

Wow!This is a totally individualistic and idiosyncratic and GREAT novel; made a great effect on me; greater then “The Vivisector”, which was, in itself, full of beautiful, dense imagery. White’s prose is polished but certainly not superficial; sometimes using semi-stream of-consciouness, minimal punctuation techniques, it contains paragraphs like:

“In a moment it seemed to Eddie Twyborn as though his own share in time were snatched away from him, as though every house he had ever lived in were torn open…. a few broken bars of a Chabrier waltz scattered from the burst piano, was it the Judge-Pantocrator looking through a gap in the star-painted ceiling…all contained in the ruins of this great unstable temporal house{life}, all but Eddie and Eadith, unless echoes of their voices threading pandemonium”

This is an apocalyptically beautiful passage right at the end of the novel. I do not know if White had read Woolf’s “Orlando”; I intend to read it. But the central idea, of a search for personal identity, here explored through a psychologically gender- androgynous PERSON, beyond labels and gender, following their life through three “male ” and “female”(as socially constructed) {re}incarnation:- is ineffably poignant and convincing.

I was drawn in, especially, to the stories, of Eudoxia/Eddie/Eadiths’s second and third re-births: as Eddie, a pretty, bisexual man(though White is subtle and avoids such {over} labelling), buggered by a closeted farm Manager, trapped in his own abusive machismo, and then taken to heart by Marcia, the farm owner’s wife; and, most of all, as Eadith,(PRE Cynthia Payne), a London madam. The end of the book is peculiarly poignant as Eadith searches for her long lost mother, Eadie, who herself, in her younger days, had a same-sex/lesbian affair with a character who (backwards)re-appears in the first story. Eudoxia/Eadith/Eddie dies at the end in a World War 2¬†bombing; so there is none of the redemption he/she seeks, unless White believed in redemption after death via the crucifixion of Christ for man’s sins.

This is an ambiguous, complicated book; it refuses to be pinned down, either stylisticaly or in relation to its protaganists’ sexual orientation or physical or psychological gender; it goes BEYOND gender and sexual orientation, into the Utopia, which should, by now, be a reality, of a search for attainment of complete personhood, regardless of/despite social constraints. Its queer(in the sense of gender androgynous)thinking is very far advanced. Although light years away from Sebald in style, it is, almost equally, a work of GENIUS

Advertisements

About decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to PATRICK WHITE:THE TWYBORN AFFAIR

  1. Merry says:

    “Individualistic” and “idiosyncratic” are exactly what I am looking for. Thanks, Steve, for the recommendation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s