By Siobhan Carroll
Planetary areas equivalent to the poles, the oceans, the ambience, and subterranean areas captured the British imperial mind's eye. Intangible, inhospitable, or inaccessible, those clean spaces—what Siobhan Carroll calls "atopias"—existed past the limits of recognized and inhabited locations. The eighteenth century conceived of those geographic outliers because the typical limits of imperial enlargement, yet medical and naval advances within the 19th century created new chances to grasp and regulate them. This improvement preoccupied British authors, who have been conversant in seeing atopic areas as otherworldly marvels in fantastical stories. areas that an empire couldn't colonize have been areas that literature could declare, as literary representations of atopias got here to mirror their authors' attitudes towards the expansion of the British Empire in addition to the half they observed literature enjoying in that expansion.
Siobhan Carroll interrogates the position those clean areas performed within the development of British identification in the course of an period of unsettling international circulations. analyzing the poetry of Samuel T. Coleridge and George Gordon Byron and the prose of Sophia Lee, Mary Shelley, and Charles Dickens, in addition to newspaper bills and voyage narratives, she lines the methods Romantic and Victorian writers reconceptualized atopias as threatening or, from time to time, susceptible. those textual explorations of the earth's maximum reaches and mystery depths make clear continual aspects of the British worldwide and environmental mind's eye that linger within the twenty-first century.
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Extra info for An Empire of Air and Water: Uncolonizable Space in the British Imagination, 1750-1850
It insists on (and, many critics have argued, imposes) moral meaning for the events the Mariner describes, attempting to close down the multiple speculative possibilities offered by the original poem. But the gloss’s authority to interpret the Mariner’s tale is questionable. ”101 At points, the gloss seems to render the horrors by the Mariner banal; at its most evocative, its summary of the Mariner’s experience nevertheless seems to miss much of what the Mariner’s fey repetitions convey. Stressing the limitations of the gloss’s attempt to interpret the Mariner’s Brought to you by | provisional account Unauthenticated Download Date | 4/12/15 2:07 PM 42 C ha pt er 1 narrative is Coleridge’s own admission of a mistake made in previous versions of Rime, a mistake that hinges on the difficulty of interpreting shipboard phenomena from the shore.
103 While not conceived as a response to the Quarterly Review article described in the next section, then, Coleridge’s 1817 revision strengthened its suggestive insistence on the unassimilable nature of polar space and, in developing what Mary Shelley would later recognize as a poetic critique of polar exploration, ushered in a new age of polar literature. Brought to you by | provisional account Unauthenticated Download Date | 4/12/15 2:07 PM Po l a r Spec u l at io n s 43 John Barrow and the New Age of Polar Exploration Forty-four years after Cook turned back from the South Pole in the belief that “the world will not be benefited by it,”104 John Barrow, Second Secretary of the Admiralty, began a campaign aimed at convincing the British public that polar exploration was not only useful but also imperative.
But despite the later importance of the Hudson story to British national identity, The Naval Chronicle’s description of Hudson’s voyages focuses mainly on the wonders he encountered while passing through Arctic waters. Indeed, one of the lengthiest sections of “Hudson’s Voyage of Discovery” is devoted to Hudson’s alleged encounter with a mermaid: “On the 15th of June . . one of our Company, looking overboard, saw a Mer-Maid. . ”34 Of what is now the most famous aspect of the Hudson story—the third voyage on which his crew mutinied—The Naval Chronicle has nothing to say, observing that of the “Differences between Hudson and his Men .
An Empire of Air and Water: Uncolonizable Space in the British Imagination, 1750-1850 by Siobhan Carroll