The sense of "Before-us": Landscape and the Making of Mindscapes in Recent Australian Children's Books

Canadian Children's Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Canadian Children's Literature, 2002, 104 (NA), pp. 22 - 46
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Referring to four recent Australian children's books, this paper argues that children's literature contributes to a phenomenology of landscape. Using Bakhtinian theory as a starting point and developing an idea of the "visual chronotope" to describe the relationship of people and events to time and space in the pictures of picturebooks, it notes that the construction of time-space in narrative is ideologically encoded. It proposes that there is a characteristic interplay in picturebooks between "present" and what Bakhtin called "great time," and that this interplay emerges out of the relationship between verbal and visual chronotopes. The Australian texts studied here suggest a significant metaphysical relationship with the bush/desert/wild place of Australian landscapes.
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