I May Be Some Time

Francis Spufford, Author Palgrave MacMillan $75 (388p) ISBN 978-0-312-17442-2
In this ardent discourse, Spufford, a British freelancer, examines the myths and symbols of ice and freezing cold that played a role in the history of legendary British polar expeditions. In what he aptly calls a ""different kind of history,"" he elaborates on the influence of myths and symbols on social, religious and moral values and their permeation of English literature. In trying to unravel the complex intersections of interior motives and external pressures, Spufford reexamines the lives of legendary explorers, particularly Captains Cook and Scott. Although working on a social tapestry interwoven with private dramas, always present is the brutal arctic landscape and the corrosive cold against which these men set out to test themselves. Especially interesting are the women in the lives of these adventurers, and the author's fresh account of Scott's life and tragic death in 1912 is engrossing. Most moving are Scott's last journal entries and the characteristically stiff-upper-lip remark (the title of this book) of Barrows, his teammate, who, starving and hopeless, left the inadequate shelter of their tent to go out to his icy death. Illustrations. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/17/1997
Release date: 11/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 388 pages - 978-0-312-22081-5
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-571-21865-3
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