Just Tell Them I Survived! Women in Antarctica

By Robin Burns | Go to book overview

Appendix 3
Women's writings about Antarctica

New books still appear on the early Antarctic explorers, and their exploits are configured into many Anglo-Nordic consciousnesses. But we do not have many images of contemporary Antarcticans, and that alone was reason for some women to embrace my project. For others, there was a desire to show that ordinary women can go to places still considered extraordinary, to record their experiences, share their joy and disclose the costs. Through the scope of this project, the particularity of individual stories and the generalities of going there as a woman are held in sometimes-uneasy balance. The intent is to place women in the picture we have of the world's driest continent and its sub-Antarctic jewels, a picture detailed by neither the increasing tourist nor wildlife spectaculars.

There are four categories of women's writing about Antarctica. The first includes historical accounts and contemporary interpretations. There are five books about women in Antarctica, and three more general accounts. Women have also written on historical aspects, including some who have themselves been to Antarctica. Then there are the scientific research writings, some of which are books.

Creative writing is a third form. Several women referred to the Ursula Le Guin short story about a Latin American women's expedition to the South Pole a year before Amundsen. They leave no record of their achievement, their participation sufficing for reward, but want their views conveyed to their children. Some of the women I interviewed articulated similar perspectives on recording their experiences. Finally, there are memoirs, from early women who accompanied their partners and private expeditioners to tourists. There are also short pieces, newspaper articles and interviews in various magazines and the daily press. There is an experiential gap of 30 years between the brief

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