Simon Ryan

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Ion Idriess was one of the most popular Australian authors of the twentieth century, yet his works have been largely passed over by academics and critics. Idriess’ Lasseter’s Last Ride (1931) defined the legend of Lewis Harold Bell Lasseter who died while searching for gold in Central Australia. Idriess adopted a number of Gothic tropes to describe the landscape and Indigenous inhabitants of the region. Mobilising Gothic elements to excuse the catastrophic failure of an expedition which had been equipped with the latest technology, Idriess manipulates the circumstances under which a “churinga” is given to the expedition to imply an Aboriginal curse falls upon Lasseter. This paper suggests that the Gothic is a flexible mode that can be used to excuse the failures of modernity as well as exploit the “primitive” as a source of aesthetic pleasure.

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Journal Article

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