Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

Writing Arctic Disaster
Authorship and Exploration


Award Winner

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: November 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107565128

£ 32.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • How did the Victorian fixation on the disastrous John Franklin expedition transform our understanding of the Northwest Passage and the Arctic? Today we still tend to see the Arctic and the Northwest Passage through nineteenth-century perspectives, which focused on the discoveries of individual explorers, their illustrated books, visual culture, imperial ambitions, and high-profile disasters. However, the farther back one looks, the more striking the differences appear in how Arctic exploration was envisioned. Writing Arctic Disaster uncovers a wide range of exploration cultures: from the manuscripts of secretive corporations like the Hudson's Bay Company, to the nationalist Admiralty and its innovative illustrated books, to the searches for and exhibits of disaster relics in the Victorian era. This innovative study reveals the dangerous afterlife of this Victorian conflation of exploration and disaster, in the geopolitical significance accruing around the 2014 discovery of Franklin's ship Erebus in the Northwest Passage.

    • Shows how twenty-first-century geopolitical and cultural debates about the Arctic and Northwest Passage continue to draw on the Victorian legacy of exploration
    • Provides an interdisciplinary study of print and manuscript texts alongside artefact collections and exhibits, culturally hybrid objects, maps and graffiti
    • Reveals how the John Franklin disaster of 1845 continues to shape our ideas of what Arctic exploration is and was
    Read more


    • Short-listed, 2016 Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize, Society for Literature, Science and the Arts

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In Writing Arctic Disaster, Craciun seeks to historicize the Victorian obsession with the man, the expedition, and its various inscriptions, uncovering in the process the changing approaches to Arctic voyaging and authorship that shaped European understanding of the region from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. … Craciun's approach is richly interdisciplinary.' Katherine Parker, Eighteenth Century Studies

    'Every so often a book comes along which is strikingly original. Adriana Craciun's Writing Arctic Disaster is one of these. … In both seeing through the eyes of the past as if it were contemporary and in her exploration and analysis of subsequent cultural memory, Craciun's work stands out. This is one amazing book.' Murray Pittock, The BARS Review

    '… a rich store of ideas, evidence, and interpretation in how exploration cultures can be understood, as well as how, historically, methodologically, and theoretically, there is still much to grapple with and make sense of … In a little over 200 pages, readers get a clear view of how truly, in the sense of exploration cultures and the writings within them, it really was a case of, 'In the beginning was the Word' (John 1:1) - to take a line out of the King James Bible … [the text] compel[s] us, as readers, to move further away from past misreadings and missed readings and closer to more nuanced understandings of this complex past, as well as its continuing effects' Deborah Stiles, Journal of Canadian Studies

    'Craciun's emphasis on Arctic exploration cultures is a welcome addition to contemporary, multidisciplinary scholarship on British Arctic exploration, which, as Craciun notes, is both rich and wide-ranging, encompassing archival periodical studies, theatrical events, popular novels, and - increasingly - indigenous perspectives as well.' Stephanie L. Schatz, BSLS Reviews

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107565128
    • length: 326 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 39 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Northwest passages and exploration cultures
    1. Arctic archives: Victorian relics, sites, collections
    2. Exploration, publication, and inscription in the Age of Murray
    3. Building upon disaster: adventurers in Hudson Bay
    4. The famous mark of our discovery: social authorship and arctic inscriptions
    5. Broken lands and lost relics: the Victorian rediscovery of the early modern Arctic
    Epilogue: Franklin found and lost.

  • Author

    Adriana Craciun, University of California, Riverside
    Adriana Craciun is Presidential Chair at the University of California, Riverside. Her books include Fatal Women of Romanticism (Cambridge, 2003), British Women Writers and the French Revolution: Citizens of the World (2005), The Material Cultures of Enlightenment Arts and Sciences (with Simon Schaffer, forthcoming in 2015), and several collections and editions.


    • Short-listed, 2016 Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize, Society for Literature, Science and the Arts

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.