By Dr Elizabeth Leane
This complete research of literary responses to Antarctica examines the wealthy physique of literature that the continent has provoked during the last 3 centuries, focussing rather on narrative fiction. Novelists such Edgar Allan Poe, James Fenimore Cooper, Jules Verne, H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula Le Guin, Beryl Bainbridge and Kim Stanley Robinson have all been drawn artistically to the some distance south. The continent has additionally encouraged style fiction, together with a generators and Boon novel, a Phantom comedian and a Biggles booklet, in addition to numerous lost-race romances, espionage thrillers and horror-fantasies. Antarctica in Fiction attracts on those resources, in addition to movie, trip narratives and explorers' personal inventive writing. It maps the some distance south as an area of the mind's eye and argues that purely by way of attractive with this area, as well as the actual continent, do we comprehend present attitudes in the direction of Antarctica.
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It was also these voyages, however, that finally dispelled the myths of an inhabitable land stretching over much of the southern hemisphere. Terra Australis was by now divided into the Australian and Antarctic continents, and Cook confirmed that the latter, if it existed, was cold and icy (at least at the perimeter) and confined to far southern latitudes. An ice-covered, inhospitable landscape could be expected to present a problem for writers intent on depicting an ideal world, but nineteenth-century utopianists dealt deftly with this obstacle by treating it, literally, as something to be negotiated in order to reach the temperate, inhabitable region beyond it.
44 Again, however, its setting is fairly incidental. â•›. 45 The far south primarily acts as a remote blank space onto which the concerns of other regions are displaced. Given that, at this stage, Antarctica had not even been sighted, it could hardly have another function. 46 Another factor may have been a growing fascination with far southern latitudes following The Utopian Continent 31 Cook’s voyages of the 1770s. It was also these voyages, however, that finally dispelled the myths of an inhabitable land stretching over much of the southern hemisphere.
The books tend to have two-word titles such as Ice Station, Ice Reich, White Night, Black Ice, Big Ice, Freeze Frame, Tempest Down, Antarctic Fury and Cold War. In some ways these novels say very little about Antarctica. Matthew Reilly, author of Ice Station (1998), had no great personal, aesthetic or 22 Beginnings 23 intellectual investment in the continent in which he set his bestseller. He researched his novel by reading books from his local Sydney library and located his next adventure in the jungles of Peru.