The Tree of Man - discussion

SnakPatrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge

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The Tree of Man - discussion

Dette emne er markeret som "i hvile"—det seneste indlæg er mere end 90 dage gammel. Du kan vække emnet til live ved at poste et indlæg.

apr 17, 2012, 2:04 pm

This poem by A. E. Housman is the source of the title. The last two stanzas are quoted in Chapter 20.

On Wenlock Edge

On Wenlock Edge the wood’s in trouble
His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

‘Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
When Uricon the city stood:
‘Tis the old wind in the old anger,
But then it threshed another wood.

Then, ’twas before my time, the Roman
At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,
Through him the gale of life blew high;
The tree of man was never quiet:
Then ’twas the Roman, now ’tis I.

The gale, it plies the saplings double,
It blows so hard, ’twill soon be gone:
To-day the Roman and his trouble
Are ashes under Uricon.

apr 19, 2012, 10:48 am

I have a1955 edition, and on the back of the dust cover the publisher has this to say:

"The Tree of Man is not for those who read as they run or who seek surface entertainment alone. It is long, and its effect is cumulative. It requires leisurely reading--if such is still possible in a jet-propelled era. And it will reward those who give it such a reading."

This is all true, but they've undersold the book in my opinion. I suppose each generation considers itself more stressed by the pace of life than the one before it. No doubt our children will speak with nostalgia some day of the slow-paced "Twitter Era."

apr 19, 2012, 10:55 am


I finished the novel last night. It is phenomenal. Where I thought Patrick White's prose called too much attention to itself in The Living and the Dead, it is in The Tree of Man just as powerful but now more controlled. White's writing and his insight are both reminiscent to different degrees of Henry James and D. H. Lawrence.

My review is posted on the book page and my Club Read thread, so I won't repeat it here.

apr 24, 2012, 10:54 am

Patrick White finds his voice with The Tree of Man and I agree with steven03x; a five star read. My review