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'Racy of the Soil': Ian Mudie, Right-Wing Nationalism, and the South Australian Soil Erosion Crisis

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Ian Mudie was an Adelaide-based freelance journalist, short story and history writer, and most notably a passionate and political poet. During the 1930s and 1940s the degradation of South Australian agricultural and pastoral soil inspired Mudie to evoke soil in his poetry. Soil also proved a useful metaphor which Mudie could deploy in aid of his right-wing political stance. Critics and historians have described Mudie either as a 'nationalist or propagandist' and a 'hectoring' nationalist, or, alternatively, as an early conservationist and even a 'proto ecologist'; none address the intersection of environmental concern and right-wing nationalism in his poetry and politics. This article will interrogate the relationship between these two ideologies in Mudie's work. Despite echoes of Nazi 'blood and soil' ideology, Mudie's soil erosion poetry was primarily the product of his settler imagination, and resonated with 'cultural nationalists' in the Australian literary community.
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Keywords: Nazism; Soil erosion; environmentalism; nationalism; poetry

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2018

This article was made available online on January 4, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "‘Racy of the Soil’: Ian Mudie, Right-Wing Nationalism, and the South Australian Soil Erosion Crisis".

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2018) of 0.800. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.918.
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