Fabulating the Australian desert: Australia's lost race romances, 1890-1908

Bellanta, Melissa (2004) Fabulating the Australian desert: Australia's lost race romances, 1890-1908. Philament, 1 3: 1-8.

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Author Bellanta, Melissa
Title Fabulating the Australian desert: Australia's lost race romances, 1890-1908
Journal name Philament
ISSN 1449-0471
Publication date 2004-04
Year available 2004
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 1
Issue 3
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Place of publication Sydney, NSW, Australia
Publisher Department of English, University of Sydney
Language eng
Subject 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
200502 Australian Literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature)
Formatted abstract
For anyone reading Australia's 'lost race romances' today, the out-and-out weirdness of their geography is likely to be the first thing that strikes them. Staging the discovery of a lost race in the middle of the desert, adventure-romance novels like The Lost Explorer (1890) and The Silver Queen (1908) describe a bizarrely incoherent Australian landscape, a cross between Virgil's Eclogues and Indiana Jones. Arcadian fields jostle volcanoes and buried slaughter-chambers, eyeless fish spume from boiling underwater caverns, plashing waterfalls conceal bunyips and Yellow Queens both hideous and beautiful to the eye. What is even more bizarre is the way these works are framed as serious accounts of Australia's historical geography...

...Anyone interested in a complex reading of these works, however, must also seek to appreciate their optimistic belief in the miraculous, their resonances with the utopian genre, and the way in which they used the lost race as inspiration for their nationalist endeavour. Re-evaluating the lost race romances thus suggests the need to revisit many postcolonial readings of Australian texts in this period, with their persistent focus on fearfulness and uncertainty.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies Publications
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Created: Mon, 02 Feb 2009, 18:01:21 EST by Paul Rollo on behalf of Faculty of Arts