Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818-1875 by Russell Alan Potter

Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818-1875

byRussell Alan Potter

Hardcover | November 2, 2007

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When every land seems already explored, the northern exploits of the Victorian age offer a distant mirror from which to regard our own time. Fascination with the Arctic was particularly strong in the mid-nineteenth century, dominating the visual culture of both Britain and America. Arctic Spectacles documents nineteenth-century visual representations of the Arctic, weaving a narrative of the major Arctic expeditions with an account of their public reception through art and mass media. At a time when every corner of the globe seemed open to the examining eye of Western science, it was the remote, mysterious, and untamable Arctic that captured public imagination. Its impact could be seen in visual media ranging from fine art to panorama, engravings, lantern slides, and photographs, as well as hybrid forms in which Inuit were "exhibited" alongside a cabinet of assorted Arctic curiosities, while Western gentlemen looked on. Russell Potter also traces the story of the long, drawn-out exploration of the Northwest Passage and the beginning of the push toward the North Pole, each new exploration producing its own arctic response. While early visual representations focused on the natural wonders of a world of magic beauty and purity, later responses were influenced by a struggle to come to terms with the human toll of Arctic exploration: lives lost, reports of cannibalism, and the loss of an original sense of purpose.Drawing from the illustrated press, panoramas, and dioramas of the era, as well as overlooked ephemera such as handbills and newspapers, Potter shows how representations of the Arctic expressed the fascination, dread, and wonder inspired by the region, feelings that have endured for nearly two centuries.

Details & Specs

Title:Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818-1875Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 10 × 8.5 × 0.98 inPublished:November 2, 2007Publisher:McGill-Queen's University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:077353332X

ISBN - 13:9780773533325

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