"The Cyclone which is at the Heart of Things": the cyclone as trope of place and apocalypse in Queensland literature

Spicer, Chrystopher (2016) "The Cyclone which is at the Heart of Things": the cyclone as trope of place and apocalypse in Queensland literature. Etropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics, 15 (2). pp. 58-68.

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Abstract

In order to better understand and respond to the tropics as part of the global environment, we need to accept the unique features of the regional weather, such as cyclones, and be prepared to embrace their larger meaning for life in the tropics. In a physical landscape impacted by some 207 tropical cyclones since 1858, Queensland writers have attempted to incorporate both the terror and the sublime of the cyclone into their sense of place as they have attempted to find context for the unpredictable, chaotic and destructive tropical cyclone within their ostensibly tamed and ordered natural landscape. Consequently, the cyclone has become a defining symbolic metaphor of not only physical but also of literary tropical Queensland.

Some Queensland writers have perceived within cyclones the Burkean sublime or personal revelation, while others have seen it as motivation for community strength, cooperation and compassion. For some, the purpose of the cyclone is divine retribution, but to others it’s an apocalyptic event revealing a rare second chance for revelation and renewal. This paper will examine a range of such perceptions within Queensland literature as part of the search for meaning within cyclonic chaotic events.

Item ID: 64217
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-2940
Keywords: cyclone; tropics; weather; meteorology; hurricane; novel; poetry; literature; Australian literature; Queensland literature; Far North Queensland; The Astley; Alexis Wright; Patrick White; Susan Hawthorne; Vance Palmer; place; people; nature catastrophe;
Copyright Information: Creative Commons CC BY 4.0. This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2021 04:50
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3701 Atmospheric sciences > 370108 Meteorology @ 20%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470502 Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature) @ 50%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4702 Cultural studies > 470213 Postcolonial studies @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 30%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9602 Atmosphere and Weather > 960203 Weather @ 20%
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