AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2007... 2007 'A Place of Ideals in Conflict' : Images of Antarctica in Australian Literature
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

This chapter examines Australian literature (poetry, fiction, and plays) dealing with Antarctica, focussing on each text's engagement with the Antarctic environment and the debates surrounding it. Beginning with two late nineteenth-century Antarctic utopias, the survey moves through the work of well-known writers such as Douglas Stewart and Thomas Keneally in the mid-century to more recent writing by Dorothy Porter, Les Murray, Caroline Caddy, and others. Less familiar material, such as poetry by Antarctic expeditioners themselves, is also discussed. The essay traces a rough progression in Australian representation of the far southern environment, from an initial utopian approach to an emphasis on its stark, 'timeless' icescape as a minimalist backdrop for human dramas to an appreciation of its changeability, complexity and fragility. (from The Littoral Zone)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon The Littoral Zone : Australian Contexts and Their Writers C A Cranston (editor), Robert Zeller (editor), Amsterdam : Rodopi , 2007 Z1422293 2007 anthology criticism

    'In this, the first collection of ecocritical essays devoted to Australian contexts and their writers, Australian and US scholars explore the transliteration of land and sea through the works of Australian authors and through their own experiences. The littoral zone is the starting point in this fresh approach to reading literature organised around the natural environment - rainforest, desert, mountains, coast, islands, Antarctica. There's the beach, where sexual and spiritual crises occur; the Western Australian wheatbelt; deserts, camel trekking, and the transformation of a salt flat into an inland island; New Age literature that 'appropriates' Aboriginal culture as the healing poultice for an ailing West; a re-examination of pastoralism; an inquiry into whether Judith Wright's work can "persuade us to rejoice" in the world; the Limestone Plains, home of the bush capital and the bogong moth; tropical North Queensland; national parks where "the mountains meet the sea"; temperate islands, with their history of sealing, Soldier Settlement, and sea country pastoral; and Antarctica, where a utopian vision gives way to an emphasis on its 'timeless' icescape as minimalist backdrop for human dramas. The author-terrain includes poets, playwrights, novelists, and non-fiction writers across the range of contexts constituting the littoral zone of 'Australia'.'

    Source: Rodopi website,
    Sighted: 28/08/2007

    Amsterdam : Rodopi , 2007
    pg. 261-290
Last amended 28 Feb 2008 09:32:51
261-290 'A Place of Ideals in Conflict' : Images of Antarctica in Australian Literaturesmall AustLit logo
    Powered by Trove