By Dr Elizabeth Leane

This entire research of literary responses to Antarctica examines the wealthy physique of literature that the continent has provoked during the last 3 centuries, focussing fairly 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 a ways south. The continent has additionally encouraged style fiction, together with a turbines and Boon novel, a Phantom comedian and a Biggles e-book, in addition to numerous lost-race romances, espionage thrillers and horror-fantasies. Antarctica in Fiction attracts on those resources, in addition to movie, commute narratives and explorers' personal inventive writing. It maps the a long way south as an area of the mind's eye and argues that simply through enticing with this house, as well as the actual continent, do we comprehend present attitudes in the direction of Antarctica.

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When European exploration of the south began in the fifteenth century, the belief in a temperate, inhabitable southern continent was widespread. 27 Mutated humans, animals real and fantastic, and monstrous and demonic creatures inhabited the southern Terra Incognita. Classical thinkers not only developed the basis for the far southern continent’s geographical extent and climate, but also speculated about its physical nature. 28 The influence of this dichotomous view of the southern land is evident, Wilson argues, in the various mythologies that developed throughout later periods, with visions of a terrifying, monstrous south competing and oscillating with dreams of a cornucopian world awaiting exploitation.

The only example of an Antarctic television sitcom, the Australian production Brass Monkeys (1983–84), uses Antarctic footage in its opening credits to situate action which takes place entirely inside a station (evoked by a series of purpose-built sets). Karge’s play The Conquest of the South Pole (1989) solves the problem in nice postmodern fashion: its protagonists’ attempts to represent the polar plateau in their attic provide a metadramatic reflection on this limitation. Feature films set in the Antarctic tend to rely on footage from the Arctic, particularly Canada, occasionally spliced in with Antarctic establishing shots; sending actors and a crew south is expensive and seldom attempted outside documentaries.

Joscelyn Godwin notes that Kircher justified this model partly by an argument likening the earth to the human body: the earth absorbs useful minÂ�erals from the waters taken in at the north, and ‘[t]he undigested remains are then expelled at the nether end’. The North Pole, in this mythology, is the mouth of the world, which absorbs nutrients for its ongoing survival. 71 As with the Greek notion of a southern hole as a kind of birth canal for returning souls, the Pole is a place where the borders of inner and outer space are breached.

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