Who lives at the South Pole?: The imposition of identity on Antarctica in three nineteenth-century texts

Carroll, Matthew (2011) Who lives at the South Pole?: The imposition of identity on Antarctica in three nineteenth-century texts. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis analyzes fictional constructions of the Antarctic during the nineteenth century by focusing on the representative texts The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838) by Edgar Allan Poe, and An Antarctic Mystery (1897) by Jules Verne. I have chosen these works because they are canonical, and their representations of the Antarctic therefore carry significant cultural resonance. Postcolonial and ecocritical thought help frame my treatment of them. The scholarship of critics like Said, Boehmer, Loomba, Huggan, Tiffin, and Plumwood coalesce in this thesis to provide a hybrid lens for examining processes by which non-human nature is othered. This perspective is invaluable in unpacking how discursive constructions of Antarctica by authors like Coleridge, Poe and Verne confer placehood on the region. -- Antarctica's remoteness and inhospitableness kept all but a handful of people from reaching its shores in the nineteenth century. This limited its ability to be constructed socially as a place, but in turn also inspired the literary imagination to create identities for it. Despite the limits on a socially constructed placehood for Antarctica during this period, I contend that the region is granted various identities through its representations in literature. Most prevalent among these is a tendency to figure the Antarctic as a mutable and ambivalent space. The literary figurations of Coleridge, Poe, and Verne are indicative of how the Imperialistic West conceived of Antarctica before it began to claim or assert control over its landscape.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10272
Item ID: 10272
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 101-110).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 2011
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: English literature--19th century--History and criticism; National characteristics in literature.

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