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Voss (1957)

por Patrick White

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaDiscussões / Menções
1,2251911,902 (4.01)1 / 229
"The novel that put Australian literature on the map is now in a Vintage Classic editionSet in nineteenth-century Australia, Vossis the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a na ve young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent. As hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality. From the careful delineation of Victorian society to the sensitive rendering of hidden love to the stark narrative of adventure in the Australian desert, Patrick White's novel is a work of extraordinary power and virtuosity."… (mais)
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I am unsettled by Voss, perhaps White's greatest novel, although oddly not one of my personal favourites of his canon. It is White's "historical" novel, written in a more direct style, by which I mean third-person linear narrator, and a healthy Dickensian roster of supporting characters (fitting for a novel set in the 19th century). But White's goal is very much as per: illustrate the limitations of the standard Australian conception of their country, their culture, their aspirations, contrasting ways of existing, human foibles, and the idea of mythologising others and - in the case of Voss - oneself.

Voss is a confident, beautiful, richly symbolic novel, swerving from the great emptiness of Australia's glorious deserts to the parlours and pavements of 1840s Sydney. White has a lot of fun with historical detail (he used M. Barnard Eldershaw's delicious [b:A House Is Built|4703054|A House Is Built|M. Barnard Eldershaw|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1515447440l/4703054._SY75_.jpg|4767379] as research material - perhaps odd, to use fiction rather than non-fiction for such a purpose!) and it's quite refreshing, after his previous novel (my personal favourite) The Tree of Man to have a White book so peppered with dialogue.

An immense achievement, Voss is not a tale of plot, nor even - on most levels - of character. It is a tale of atmosphere, culture, humanity, and existence itself. Interesting, then, to see its comparatively poor average review score on Goodreads, compared to White's classics. Theory A: the author's deliberate decision to write in the historical mode has actually dated this book faster than his more regular, modernist prose, which was confronting to Australians in the 1950s but now reads as high-culture bog-standard to us. Theory B: most people these days only make it through Voss, so the other White books have higher scores because its acolytes and the literati who read them, while Voss lures and then abandons the great unwashed? Either is possible. This may seem like snobbery, and it is, but it's author-approved snobbery. In David Marr's ace biography of White, the latter is quoted on why he never accepted a university gig: "Those who will understand my books will do so intuitively; I don't want to waste time on the others."

Elitism aside, I find myself directing White newcomers to his more character-focussed, "accessible" novels: A Fringe of Leaves or especially Riders in the Chariot come to mind. I come to suspect Voss is his most lasting achievement because it sits neatly between the "easy" novels and the "difficult" ones (cf The Vivisector, The Aunt's Story). It confronts Australia's present, clashes with its past, and hurls leading questions toward its future. As Laura Trevelyan says, the future begins now. ( )
  therebelprince | Jun 24, 2021 |
I found Voss by Patrick White to be a difficult read. While I was expecting a descriptive book about an expedition to cross the Australian continent east to west, I found myself reading a book whose focus was very much on two characters, that of German explorer, Voss, and Laura, the niece of his benefactor. We travel with Voss who seems to be on a journey of self-discovery, and explore the complex relationship between the two main characters. I didn’t like or understand either of the main characters, finding Voss to be stubborn, misanthropic and possessing a deep anger inside himself. Laura seemed to be self-centered, cold and remote. Yet we are asked to believe in a powerful, almost physic connection between the two.

Due to the dense, yet poetic language I found that many sentences had to be re-read numerous times in order to decipher. I was also somewhat off-put by the author’s unsympathetic treatment of the aborigines. I am sure that he used well recognized terms of the day to describe them, but he also did nothing to offset this colonial attitude with a more modern view. The book swerves between the hardships, dangers and eccentricities of the men on the expedition and the petty details of colonial society, and Laura’s perceptions of disaster.

Voss is most certainly brilliant, finely crafted and eloquent yet readers beware, it is also overly long, ponderous and requires a lot of reading patience. Unfortunately my best memory of Voss will be how happy I was to reach the end of this lengthy novel. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 11, 2021 |
File under: novels whose eponymous character is not the most interesting character in the book. Right alongside 'Anna Karenina,' 'Lila,' 'Moby Dick,' and the central book in this tradition, 'Frankenstein.'

Anyway, this Patrick White novel, you will be surprised to learn, is about the internal states of a small number of characters, the heroes among whom don't fit in, the villains among whom fit in very well. The heroes are mystics and idealists, gazing longingly through this (natural) world at the forms; the villains are fixated on this (human) world.

Other White books with the same idea focus on one character (Vivisector), three characters (Riders in the Chariot), or three-characters-in-one (Twyborn Affair). Voss has two, which makes it unique among those I remember reading, though I suspect Tree of Man has two, and I think that's true also of The Solid Mandala, which I 'read' at uni and don't remember at all.

Despite the predictability, and his astonishing limitations (he's like Cormac McCarthy, except whereas McCarthy is *all* externality, White is all internality; I doubt he ever wrote a scene with more than two people in it without feeling uncomfortable, or satirical) White finds a way to make his work work. "Voss" works because Voss, an explorer, has an obvious narrative to hold it together, so it feels less flabby than "Riders". It helps that the narrative is historically based (Leichardt, which I've probably spelt wrong), and so White can focus on what he does well, i.e., psychology, sentences and mysticism. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Now why doesn't it surprise me that not one of my well read high brow friends, Australian or otherwise, has read this Nobel Prize winner?

Let alone reviewed it....

I'd do it myself, but why bother when Fred Dagg has this to say about writing The Great Australian Novel. Australians, if you haven't heard this, it's hilarious. For others, it is still very funny (he is great on Tolstoy), but there will be the odd reference you don't get.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc50Gcq18wg ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Now why doesn't it surprise me that not one of my well read high brow friends, Australian or otherwise, has read this Nobel Prize winner?

Let alone reviewed it....

I'd do it myself, but why bother when Fred Dagg has this to say about writing The Great Australian Novel. Australians, if you haven't heard this, it's hilarious. For others, it is still very funny (he is great on Tolstoy), but there will be the odd reference you don't get.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc50Gcq18wg ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
White, Patrickautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Golüke, GuidoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Keneally, ThomasIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Odom, MelArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Salter, GeorgDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"The novel that put Australian literature on the map is now in a Vintage Classic editionSet in nineteenth-century Australia, Vossis the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a na ve young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent. As hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality. From the careful delineation of Victorian society to the sensitive rendering of hidden love to the stark narrative of adventure in the Australian desert, Patrick White's novel is a work of extraordinary power and virtuosity."

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