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Return to Hanging Rock: Lost Children in a Gothic Landscape

Miller, Rosemarie (2017) Return to Hanging Rock: Lost Children in a Gothic Landscape. Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, 21 (2). pp. 152-166. ISSN Print: 1468-8417 Online: 2168-1414

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Abstract

Using the philosophical position of phenomenology this article examines the ways in which ideas of wildness combine with Australian Gothic tropes such as the white colonial lost child and the bush as a haunted locale to compose key features of an Australian Ecogothic. Joan Lindsay’s enigmatic novel Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967) has prompted scholars such as Lesley Kathryn Hawkes to describe how in Australian literature for both adults and children ‘the environment is far more than a setting or backdrop against which the plot takes place’ (Hawkes, 2011,67). On St Valentine’s Day in 1900 three young Australian girls and their teacher disappear from a school picnic at the ancient site of Mount Macedon in Victoria. The analysis, which focuses on Lindsay’s posthumously published chapter eighteen (1987) examines how elements of the material, sensing world combine with the mythological or sacred to connect the human protagonists with the gothic landscape they inhabit. The resulting intersubjectivity problematizes colonial ideology and unsettles notions of national identity. Using the philosophical position of phenomenology this article examines the ways in which ideas of wildness combine with Australian Gothic tropes such as the white colonial lost child and the bush as a haunted locale to compose key features of an Australian Ecogothic. Joan Lindsay’s enigmatic novel Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967) has prompted scholars such as Lesley Kathryn Hawkes to describe how in Australian literature for both adults and children ‘the environment is far more than a setting or backdrop against which the plot takes place’ (Hawkes, 2011,67). On St Valentine’s Day in 1900 three young Australian girls and their teacher disappear from a school picnic at the ancient site of Mount Macedon in Victoria. The analysis, which focuses on Lindsay’s posthumously published chapter eighteen (1987) examines how elements of the material, sensing world combine with the mythological or sacred to connect the human protagonists with the gothic landscape they inhabit. The resulting intersubjectivity problematizes colonial ideology and unsettles notions of national identity.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: phenomenology, wildness, Australian Gothic, ecoGothic
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts
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Copyright Info: ASLE-UKI
Depositing User: Rosemarie Miller
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2016 14:16
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 10:10
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/4968

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