Antarctica in children’s literature

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    For over a century, British authors have been writing about the Antarctic for child audiences, and yet Antarctic literature for children has never been considered as a unique body of work or given significant critical attention. This thesis represents the first in-depth examination of Antarctic literature for children written or published in Britain. Representations of the Antarctic hold particular relevance within the British context, as Britain retains significant territorial claims to Antarctic territories and British explorers have played a key role in Antarctic history. This thesis expands upon existing work focusing on literature for adults about the Antarctic including Francis Spufford’s 1996 I May be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination and Elizabeth Leane’s 2012 Antarctica in Fiction.
    Over a century of writing about the continent for children is interrogated, covering a period between 1895 and 2017. The thesis identifies, and provides a detailed examination of, the six dominant genres of literature about the Antarctic written for children. These genres are: whaling literature, “Heroic Era” exploration literature, subversive exploration literature, adventure literature, fantasy literature, and animal stories. This thesis focuses on representations of landscape within Antarctic literature for children, and draws on the work of landscape theorists and cultural geographers including Yi Fu Tuan, Roderick Nash, Greg Garrard and William Cronon to examine how authors for children have imagined the Antarctic as a wilderness. The thesis draws on, and adds to, existing examinations of landscape within children’s literature, specifically Jane Suzanne Carroll’s 2011 Landscape in Children’s Literature. The thesis utilises Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of chronotopes to explore how time-space is constructed within Antarctic literature for children and the impact of time upon child and adult protagonists within the children’s texts. Finally, the thesis examines representations of death and survival in Antarctic literature for children.
    Date of Award13 Jun 2018
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorKate Teltscher (Supervisor) & Jane Carroll (Supervisor)

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