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Antarctica in the Australian Imagination


Leane, E and Pfennigwerth, SC, Antarctica in the Australian Imagination, Polar Record, 38, (207) pp. 309-312. ISSN 0032-2474 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1017/S003224740001799X


Antarctica and Australia share a geographical marginality, a commonality that has produced and continues to reinforce historical and political ties between the two continents. Given this close relationship, surprisingly few full-length novels set in or concerned with the Antarctic have been produced by Australian authors. Until 1990, two late-nineteenth-century utopias, and two novels by Thomas Keneally, were (to our knowledge) the sole representatives of this category. The last decade, however, has seen an upsurge of interest in Antarctica, and a corresponding increase in fictional response. Keneally's novels are 'literary,' but these more recent novels cover the gamut of popular genres: science fiction, action-thriller, and romance. Furthermore, they indicate a change iń the perception of Antarctica and its place within international relations. Whereas Keneally is primarily concerned with the psychology of the explorer from the 'Heroic Age,' these younger Australian writers are interested in contemporary political, social, and environmental issues surrounding the continent. Literary critics have hitherto said little about textual representations of Antarctica; this paper opens a space for analysis of 'Antarctic fiction,' and explores the changing nature of Australian-Antarctic relations as represented by Australian writers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature)
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Literature
UTAS Author:Leane, E (Professor Elizabeth Leane)
UTAS Author:Pfennigwerth, SC (Ms Stephanie Pfennigwerth)
ID Code:25094
Year Published:2002
Deposited By:English, Journalism and European Languages
Deposited On:2002-08-01
Last Modified:2003-06-17

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