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Voss

Voss

laura attempt companions experiences

a novel by Patrick White, published in 1957. Inspired by the true story of Ludwig Leichardt, Voss is the epic account of the German explorer Johann Voss, a visionary who planned to cross the Australian continent in 1845, in a Nietzschean attempt to transform himself into a superman. His encounter with the emancipated Laura Trevelyan before his departure develops into a mystical, telepathic bond strengthened by his absence. Voss's attempt to conquer the desert is doomed from the outset; he experiences hunger, robbery, desertion by companions, and sickness on his quest. His sufferings are eventually and brutally curtailed by one of his travelling companions, the aboriginal Jackie, who decapitates him. Laura, in Sydney, is ravaged by fever, in a psychic reflection of Voss's experiences. Voss lives on in collective memory, variously iconized as a martyr, revered as a hero, or reviled as a madman. Only Laura perceives the truth of Voss's existence; like all mortals, Voss was the meeting-place of good and evil.

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