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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 The Tasmanian Tiger From Extinction to Identity : Myth in White Australian Society and Fiction
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The Thylacine or 'Tasmanian Tiger' today is a well-known and well-loved icon of the Australian world. Although it is probable that the species had already disappeared from mainland Australia by 1788, it was still present in Tasmania when settlement of the island began in 1803. As the colony expanded, this largest surviving carnivorous marsupial came to be seen as such a formidable threat to the pastoral economy that bounty schemes were introduced to eradicate it. Since the last captive thylacine died in 1936, however, it has become a symbol of Australian and more specifically Tasmanian identity. The heraldic crests of several towns in Tasmania feature at least one thylacine as supporter and the State Tasmania has two. It also appears on licence plates and until quite recently graced the labels of the state's best-selling beer.' Nor are all Australians reconciled with the official view that the 'Tassie tiger' should now be considered irreversibly lost. Every year, there are several claimed sightings throughout Australia and thousands of dollars have been put towards the quest for the thylacine, either to try to catch it alive or to clone it back to life using DNA material extracted from museum specimens. Tourist shops cater to thylacine nostalgia by selling T-shirts, magnets, and key-rings adorned with tigers and the caption 'I want to believe' as well as mugs and caps that simply read: 'I'm alive'. Such a reversal in the perceptions of the thylacine, from colonist's bane to national icon and naturalist's grail constitutes a striking example of the complex and contradictory uses mythical constructions of otherness have been put to in settler communities.' (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Literary Location and Dislocation of Myth in the Post/Colonial Anglophone World André Dodeman (editor), Élodie Raimbault (editor), Leiden : Brill , 2017 14180164 2017 anthology criticism

    'The English-speaking world today is so diverse that readers need a gateway to its many postcolonial narratives and art forms. This collection of essays examines this diversity and what brings so many different cultures together. Whether Indian, Canadian, Australasian or Zimbabwean, the stories discussed focus on how artists render experiences of separation, belonging, and loss. The histories and transformations postcolonial countries have gone through have given rise to a wide range of myths that retrace their birth, evolution, and decline. Myths have enabled ethnic communities to live together; the first section of this collection dwells on stories, which can be both inclusive and exclusive, under the aegis of ‘nation’. 
    'While certain essays revisit and retell the crucial role women have played in mythical texts like the Mahābhārata, others discuss how settler colonies return to and re-appro¬priate a past in order to define themselves in the present. Crises, clashes, and conflicts, which are at the heart of the second section of this book, entail myths of historical and cultural dislocation. They appear as breaks in time that call for reconstruction and redefinition, a chief instance being the trauma of slavery, with its deep geographical and cultural dislocations. However, the crises that have deprived entire communities of their homeland and their identity are followed by moments of remembrance, reconciliation, and rebuilding. As the term ‘postcolonial’ suggests, the formerly colonized people seek to revisit and re-investigate the impact of colonization before committing it to collective memory. In a more specifically literary section, texts are read as mythopoeia, foregrounding the aesthetic and poetic issues in colonial and postcolonial poems and novels. The texts explored here study in different ways the process of mythologization through images of location and dislocation. The editors of this collection hope that readers worldwide will enjoy reading about the myths that have shaped and continue to shape postcolonial communities and nations. '  (Publication summary)

    Leiden : Brill , 2017
    pg. 67-83
Last amended 1 Jul 2021 12:53:46
67-83 The Tasmanian Tiger From Extinction to Identity : Myth in White Australian Society and Fictionsmall AustLit logo
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