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Title: Lost amid the fogs : travel and the inscription of Newfoundland, 1497 to 1997
Author: Harries, John A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis is about Newfoundland, Canada. It concerns the ways in which Newfoundland and its people have been authored by visiting strangers. The problem of authorship is situated within an ethnographic reflection on the politics of identity and resource management in rural Newfoundland. This politics is dominated the rhetoric of development and underdevelopment. According to this rhetoric, Newfoundland is backward, and the job of government is to facilitate the region’s progress. It is argued that the contemporary concern with Newfoundland’s progress may be considered as a form of writing. The issue is, then, not how Newfoundland came to be underdeveloped, but how Newfoundland came to be authored as underdeveloped. It is the exploration of the history of the writing of Newfoundland that forms the core of this thesis. This exploration is, in the Foucaudian sense, archaeological. Through a reading of travelogues published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, an account is given of the ways in which visitors have created a knowledge of Newfoundland, and the epistemes of vision and representation that have constituted the possibility of that knowledge. This archaeology of the inscription of Newfoundland is organized into four sections, which are distinguished both chronologically and thematically. The first, concerns the expeditions of “scientific” explores of the late eighteenth century. Placing their accounts in the context of the emergence of empiricism and rationalism, it is shown that their visits represent a radically new approach to the authorship of Newfoundland, one which centred around the observing eye of enlightened traveller. The second discusses the writings of geologists who traversed Newfoundland in the beginning of the nineteenth century. The focus of this discussion is the aesthetics of time and how ideas of the primitive informed the envisioning of the landscape of Newfoundland. The third section examines how the idea of the wilderness was extended to the constitution of the Newfoundland “other” as a degraded European subject. Particular reference is made to the writings of missionaries and to their concern with the regulation of desire as a cultivation of the wilderness within. The fourth and final section addresses the authoring of Newfoundland from a nativist perspective in the later half of the nineteenth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available