The Cartographic Eye: How Explorers Saw Australia

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This book is about the mythologies of land exploration, and about space and the colonial enterprise in particular. It is an innovative investigation of the presumptions, aesthetics, and politics of Australian explorers' texts that looks at the journals of John Oxley, Thomas Mitchell, Charles Sturt, and Ludwig Leichhardt and shows that they are not the simple, unadorned observations the authors would have us believe, but, rather, complex networks of tropes. The book argues that contacts with Aborigines and the 'virgin' land are occasions of discursive contest, and that, however much explorers construct themselves as monarchs of all they survey, this monarchy is not absolute. This book scrutinises and undermines the scientific and literary methodology of exploration.