Tropical Island Imaginary
AbstractThis paper opens with a historical survey of the imaginary representation of islands in Western literature and then proceeds to a selective account of the island imaginary in largely ‘middlebrow’ writings and photography about the tropics. Complexities and paradoxes in the significances and semiotics of islands can be found in much writing about the Pacific islands of tropical Australia. E.J.Banfield largely established the paradisal perspective on tropical islands and extolled the lifestyle of the ‘beachcomber’. The often challenged ‘truth claim’ that ‘the camera cannot lie’ is most pertinent to Hurley’s work: what we see there is not only a speculum but more often a spectacle of the island imaginary; indeed the staging and replication of content so as to reflect what Hurley wanted to see in his subjects amounts to the substitution of a hyperreal, which then establishes itself in the discourse of the tropical island imaginary. Norman Lindsay tapped into some persistent motifs of the island imaginary: the excitement created by shipwreck and survival; the romance and salacious possibilities afforded by the attractions between a heroine and her suitors; and the realities of human nature stripped of civilised manners. Paradoxically, the popular works of Ion L. Idriess problematize the boundaries between material fact and textual discourse, tapping into what may well be a paradigm for the island imaginary in general—a space where contraries multiply and fantasies materialize. Lastly, Frank Clune’s ‘counterfeit adventures’ similarly play around persistent binaries and stereotypes in the island imaginary, and perpetuate a reification of the complexity and elusiveness of their subject.
How to Cite
Authors who submit articles to this journal agree to the following terms:
1. Authors are responsible for ensuring that any material that has influenced the research or writing has been properly cited and credited both in the text and in the Reference List (Bibliography). Contributors are responsible for gaining copyright clearance on figures, photographs or lengthy quotes used in their manuscript that have been published elsewhere.
2. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License that allows others to share and adapt the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
3. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository, or publish it in a book), with proper acknowledgement of the work's initial publication in this journal.
4. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (see The Effect of Open Access or The Open Access Citation Advantage). Where authors include such a work in an institutional repository or on their website (i.e., a copy of a work which has been published in eTropic, or a pre-print or post-print version of that work), we request that they include a statement that acknowledges the eTropic publication including the name of the journal, the volume number and a web-link to the journal item.
5. Authors should be aware that the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License permits readers to share (copy and redistribute the work in any medium or format) and adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the work) for any purpose, even commercially, provided they also give appropriate credit to the work, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. They may do these things in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests you or your publisher endorses their use.