Remittance bards : the places, tribes, and dialects of Patrick White and Malcolm Lowry

Clifton Mark Williams
This thesis traces the efforts of Patrick White and Malcolm Lowry between the years 1933 and 1957 to "purify the dialect of the tribe." As young writers in the England of the Thirties both felt the language of the English middle class, the pre-dominant dialect of English fiction, to be exhausted. Some time in the Forties, both chose to live and write in isolated places where they believed there to be English dialects which possessed a vigour and a contact with reality absent in the England they
more » ... had abandoned. The texture and structure of their subsequent writing demonstrate the effects of this choice of locales. My introductory chapter surveys the concern of both novelists, up to the end of the Fifties, with language, class, and place, and addresses the biographical facts relevant to these concerns. This discussion establishes the formal, linguistic, and ideological parameters of my approach to these novelists. The body of the thesis is divided into two sections: the first deals with the period up to 1941, the second with the post-war period. Part A, chapter I addresses the cultural background and the ideological confusion of young middle-class writers in England during the Thirties. The following three chapters set the early novels of both writers in this context. Part B begins by establishing the post-war literary milieu in England from which the fiction of White and Lowry offers a sharp break. The following five chapters consider the continuing influence of Thirties dilemmas on their approach to form and the use of language, the attempts of both writers to find formal means adequate to their readings of the contemporary world, and their progressive break with literary realism. The conclusion evaluates the literary results of these struggles with language: in particular, the degree to which a creative use of dialect has extended the range of the English novel during a period characterized in England by caution and retrenchment.
doi:10.14288/1.0096065 fatcat:thvle2qq7vhvpfysxvpjpsfepi