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Roslynn D. Haynes
Tasmanian Visions: Landscapes in Writing, Art and Photography
Polymath Press (Tasmania) 2006
265 x 200
mm, hardcover, 392 pp
$55.00 rrp

How do we engage with landscapes? What makes them attractive or abhorrent to us? How do we come to attach cultural resonances to them? Why do we change our minds about their value?

When we look at Tasmanian landscapes we see them through the filters of history, fiction, art and the tales of other travellers. This book examines our perceptions of place through the multiple visions that continue to influence us.

For the first Tasmanians the island Trowenna was filled with spiritual meaning linked to the Ancestral Beings who created it, but for the 19thC Europeans it was a wilderness, a terrifying blank, without history or cultural context. This book explores the way they and their descendants have come to relate to Tasmanian landscapes through inscribing the events of history on the land and through creating it imaginatively in writing, art and photography. It discusses the revolution in attitude to wilderness and asks: what can 'wilderness' validly mean in a world of invasive technology and satellite surveillance? Can we think beyond wilderness to value other landscapes and celebrate 'country'?

Roslynn Haynes is Adjunct Associate-Professor of English at the University of New South Wales and an Honorary Fellow in the School of History and Classics at the University of Tasmania.