Year

1989

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Department of English

Abstract

This thesis explores the dominant themes and motifs which lie at the basis of Australian landscape depictions in art and literature. Starting with the notion that natural landscapes, irrespective of genre or form, are social inventions which reflect the values of the culture that produced them, I have attempted to identify some of the social and historical reasons for the prevalence of particular types of construction. The dominance of garden and wilderness depictions, for instance, reflects the frustrations and dreams of a culture damned by its origins and yet blessed by its belief in a Utopian destiny. Each landscape represents a transposition of social and historical themes into natural settings, settings which provide criteria against which the culture can test its values and perceptions. However, the transposition of essentially urban issues into a pre-industrial, pristine landscape encourages escapism and withdrawal from the world of political and historical action.

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