Review of The Transported Imagination: Australian Interwar Magazines and the Geographical Imaginaries of Colonial Modernity, by Victoria Kuttainen, Susann Liebich and Sarah Galletly

On the cover of The Transported Imagination: Australian Interwar Magazines and the Geographical Imaginaries of Colonial Modernity, fashionably dressed men and women lean against the slip rail of an ocean cruiser, gazing at an island scene of sampans, palm trees, sandy beaches and soaring mountains. The image is from a full-page advertisement for P&O’s ‘Pleasure Cruises’, illustrated by Australian graphic artist James Northfield and featured in a 1936 edition of The BP Magazine – one of the culture and leisure magazines that Transported Imagination examines. In this tightly focused and engagingly written study, Kuttainen, Liebich and Galletly argue that culture and leisure magazines played a crucial role in encouraging interwar Australians’ ‘fascination with the world beyond Australia’s shores, with overseas travel, and the Pacific in particular’ (38). Although not all Australians could afford to partake in the kind of pleasure cruise depicted in Northfield’s illustration, readers were nonetheless ‘transported’ to international locales through reading about and looking at images of travel destinations in commercial periodicals. These magazines ‘transported the public imagination beyond dun-coloured outback scenes or insular Australian outlooks to international affairs, travel, [and] cosmopolitan style’ through offering visual and written features ‘set in a slick world of motion and mobility, awash with alluring new commodities and beguiling promises to consumers and readers’ (12). Furthermore, publications such as The BP Magazine frequently expanded the ‘geographical imaginaries’ of Australian readers beyond imperial Britain, pointing them towards other, newly available destinations such as ‘the Pacific, its islands, and the up-and-coming nation across it: America’ (19).

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Published 5 July 2019 in Volume 34, No. 1.. Subjects: Modernity, Travel fiction & writing, Interwar, Magazine/periodical studies.

Cite as: Cooper, Melinda J.. ‘Review of The Transported Imagination: Australian Interwar Magazines and the Geographical Imaginaries of Colonial Modernity, by Victoria Kuttainen, Susann Liebich and Sarah Galletly.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 34, no. 1, 2019. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.6d06bd508d.