Unpacking the travel writers’ baggage: imperial rhetoric in travel literature of Australia 1813-1914

Jensen, Judith A (2006) Unpacking the travel writers’ baggage: imperial rhetoric in travel literature of Australia 1813-1914. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines imperial rhetoric in published accounts of travel in Australia during the period 1813 to 1914. Imperial rhetoric was a subtle persuasive device that utilised metaphor as well as ideologies and issues to encourage readers towards a particular view of the relationship between Britain and Australia. Published accounts by explorers and travellers provided a medium for imperial rhetoric, one which emphasised Australia’s inherent Britishness and manifest loyalty to Britain. It conveyed the image of Australia as an integral part of a cohesive and progressive British Empire. However the texts also revealed an evolving and separate cultural identity but one that was built upon British cultural and political traditions. Fundamental to these images of Australia was imperial rhetoric that initially placed the unknown landscape within an established framework of progress, science and aesthetics and later celebrated the survival of British cultural traditions while acknowledging deviations. Explorers’ published accounts were a way of claiming the land for the empire. Their narratives were infused with the land’s economic benefits and potential for settlement, which they promoted to their readership through their discourse. Later travellers underlined the idea that the British Empire was unified and that Australia was a loyal, successful and prosperous member of that Empire. In both forms of travel literature ideology and contemporary issues operated as the framework upon which the travel writers built their understanding of Australia which once presented in their published accounts suggested and encouraged a supportive response from their audience.

Item ID: 10427
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: travel literature, explorers, travellers, imperial rhetoric, Australia, 1813 to 1914, nineteenth centenary, twentieth centenary, ideologies, issues, views, relationships, Britain, loyalty, British Empire, culture, narratives, readers
Date Deposited: 26 May 2010 22:24
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 30%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) @ 30%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200502 Australian Literature (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 100%
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