The territory of truth ;and Ways of seeing: the Tasmanian landscape in literature

Anna Donald

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The Territory of Truth examines the 'need for place' in humans and the roads by which people travel to find or construct that place, suggesting also what may happen to those who do not find a 'place'. The novel shares a concern with the function of landscape and place in relation to concepts of identity and belonging: it considers the forces at work upon an individual when they move through differing landscapes and what it might be about those landscapes which attracts or repels. The novel explores interior feelings such as loss, loneliness, and fulfilment, and the ways in which identity is derived from personal, especially familial, relationships Set in Tasmania and Britain, the novel is narrated as a 'voice play' in which each character speaks from their 'way of seeing', their 'truth'. This form of narrative was chosen because of the way stories, often those told to us, find a place in our memory: being part of the oral narrative of family, they affect our sense of self and our identity. The Territory of Truth suggests that identity is linked to a sense of selfworth and a belief that one 'fits' in to society. The characters demonstrate the 'four ways of seeing' as discussed in the exegesis. '"Ways of Seeing": The Tasmanian Landscape in Literature' considers the way humans identify with 'place', drawing on the ideas and theories of critics and commentators such as Edward Relph, Yi-fu Tuan, Roslynn Haynes, Richard Rossiter, Bruce Bennett, and Graham Huggan. It asks what conclusions may be drawn from the differences in attitude toward nature and human settlement in Tasmania across the considerable time period represented by selected writings from 1870-1999: Marcus Clarke's For The Term of his Natural Life (1870-1872), Robert Drewe's The Savage Crows (1978), James McQueen's Hook's Mountain (1982), Richard Flanagan's Death of a River Guide (1994), and selected work by Christopher Koch (1958-1999). The study explores the notion of 'ways of seeing' and concludes that Richard Rossiter's concept of three phases of 'the relationship between nature and identity within Australian narrative' can be applied to the examined texts. Also, it appears that a fourth phase is apparent in this staging of a literary consciousness: one which can be contextualised within Huggan’s discussion of the 'transnational'.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013

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