Well, thank you. Though when I say it's declining, it's certainly not reached it's bottom yet. Just a decade of funding cuts has hit a little hard even if it's still the same old faculty....
'tis a shame that there's not many of us Antipodeans but I'll gladly fill that gap as best I can (though I'm a bit hopeless with the literature of my cousins across the Tasman unfortunately). I've actually come here from pastures that I'd say are just as green, though little more anarchic and limited in reading and discussion length (not to mention somewhat seedier) which can get a bit tiresome.
Besides, I thought I ought to actually contribute here since I've been using this place on and off as a little bit of a farm for recommendations outside of the usual box (everybody knows that box: the Anglo-American "greats" and boring expat lit + Joyce + 19th Century French and Russians and some Existentialists/Bulgakov + Latin-American Magical Realists + Murakami and Mishima holding up the Asian end. Maybe Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" though that's sitting firmly on the edge of the box).
Admittedly there's nothing wrong with the box itself, and I do - do a lot of reading in the box, but I've gotten to that stage that I want something a little different and not just to bolster my ego or as a weak bit of cultural anthropology "oh look at these quaint Estonians" but because I'm genuinely interested in what is going on in other literatures (ignored literatures?) as well as my own country's, given the dominance of British and American culture in general making it almost feel like an "other" literature at times - which obviously leads me to White who if my limited reading is anything to go by, is a bit of an "other" himself within that literature. Although that might be because Australians didn't seem to take to literary modernism that much (architectural modernism on the other hand...) though a lot of that is really in regards to poetry - thanks to the controversial, and amusing, Ern Malley affair.
Or maybe I signed up just to eventually troll Eric?
Anyways, enough about that and more about Patrick White: I'm tossing up whether to actually try to read through the rest of White's work in publication order from Happy Valley as - if my adventures with Jane Austen and Ian "Macabre to Boring Establishment Fiction" McEwan are to go by - is always interesting from a writer's development view (or "rise and fall" in McEwan's case), and I'll be sure to post about it if I do go about reading White in that fashion. Admittedly that might be a bit of a flawed approach with White as I think he had finished The Aunt's Story way before anything else he wrote and that novel just happened to be published third, though I'm not sure.
I should check my copy of that Marr's book to see to be honest. It's actually kind of strange I have that book considering I've only read two of his novels, but I just happened to express vague interest in it and the bookshop guy insisted I rescue it for half price because it took up so much space of his biography section and he'd had doubts he'd ever sell it to anyone else. Let's face it - who can argue with such logic?