Antarctica: Exploration, Perception, and Metaphor


"A scene so wildly and awfully desolate... it cannot fail to impress me with gloomy thoughts" so Robert F. Scott perceived the stark Antarctic in 1905. Yet the environment is more than its physical appearance expectation and subjective response, as much as direct stimuli, play a part in perceptions. Antarcticatraces images of the continent from early invented maps up to Roald Amundsen's arrival. Paul Simpson-Housley approaches Antarctica from the perspective of both sea and land explorers, describing their differing perceptions as created by error and desire. Explorers returned with images of both beauty and terror. Simpson-Housley analyzes their writings in diaries, books and poetry. Developing this theme, and focusing on the realist paintings of Edward Wilson and the symbolic poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he discusses how artistic images were created from first-hand experience of the landscape, as well as contemporary reports and literature.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1992


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