The Cartographic Eye: How Explorers Saw Australia

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9780521571128: The Cartographic Eye: How Explorers Saw Australia

This book is about the mythologies of land exploration, and about space and the colonial enterprise in particular. It is an innovative investigation of the presumptions, aesthetics and politics of Australian explorers' texts that shows that they are not the simple, unadorned observations their authors would have us believe. The book argues that contact with Aborigines are occasions of discursive contest. It scrutinizes and undermines the scientific and literary methodology of exploration. It will be a crucial text for readers in cultural, postcolonial and Australian studies.

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The Cartographic Eye is about the mythologies of land exploration, and about space and the colonial enterprise in particular. An innovative investigation of the presumptions, aesthetics and politics of Australian explorers' texts, it concentrates on the period 1820-1880. Simon Ryan looks at the journals of John Oxley, Thomas Mitchell, Charles Sturt and Ludwig Leichhardt and shows that they are not the simple, unadorned observations the authors would have us believe, but are complex networks of tropes. The Cartographic Eye scrutinises and undermines the scientific and literary methodology of exploration. Its insightful analysis of the tendencies of colonialism will make a major contribution to 'new historicist' interrogations of colonialism. It will be a crucial text for readers in Australian literary and cultural studies, and for those interested in colonial discourse and postcolonial theory.

Review:

'If you thought that Australia did not need another book on cartography and the gaze of empire, Simon Ryan's The Cartographic Eye should change your mind. The purpose is both straightforward and timely.' Australian Historical Studies

' ... Simon Ryan's The Cartographic Eye is a very important book ... Ryan's scholarship is both detailed and focussed ... this is compelling reading.' Australian Geographical Studies

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