Seeking the Centre: The Australian Desert in Literature, Art and Film

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Cambridge University Press, 1998 - 347 pages
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The desert has a hypnotic presence in Australian culture, simultaneously alluring and repellent. The 'Centre' is distant and unknown to most Australians, yet has become a symbol of the country. This exciting book, highly illustrated in full colour, reveals the singular impact that the desert, both geographical and metaphorical, has had on Australian culture. At the heart of the book is the profound relationship that Aboriginal Australians have with the desert, and the complex ways in which they have been seen by white people in this context.

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List of illustrations
Some facts about Australian deserts xiv
the Aboriginal relationship with the desert 11
European myths of the desert 23
imperatives for discovery 36
or what the explorers wrote into the landscape 58
the art of exploration 85
dead explorers and national identity 111
tales of travel and reefs of gold 143
from topography to imagery 161
psychodrama in fiction and film 184
figures of the subconscious 209
retelling the exploration stories 226
evolution and ecology of the desert 249
the desert in the Age of Aquarius 261
The art of cultural encounter 281

the desert as adventure 129

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