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By Siobhan Carroll

Planetary areas similar 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 bounds of identified and inhabited areas. The eighteenth century conceived of those geographic outliers because the average limits of imperial growth, yet clinical and naval advances within the 19th century created new chances to understand 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 may possibly 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 id in the course of an period of unsettling international circulations. interpreting 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 strains the methods Romantic and Victorian writers reconceptualized atopias as threatening or, every now and then, weak. those textual explorations of the earth's optimum reaches and mystery depths make clear chronic features of the British international and environmental mind's eye that linger within the twenty-first century.

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However, while this chapter will occasionally touch on the ways that polar space reinscribes gender roles, its focus is on the ways that authors used polar space to reflect on the literary imagination’s relationship to nation and empire. 14 While the texts that I examine here are frequently contradictory and fraught with ambiguity, they are all staging grounds for ideological battles that continue to shape our view of polar space. Indeed, as E. C. H. Keskitalo notes in Negotiating the Arctic, the perception of fundamentally different Arctic and Antarctic regions as comparable “polar spaces” is itself a legacy of nineteenthcentury exploration,15 which tended to represent these disparate regions as part of a unified polar landscape.

Indeed, Cook’s journals insist on the accuracy of his work while criticizing that of privateers like William Dampier and practitioners of “speculative geography”66 such as Alexander Dalrymple, whose charts, Cook implies, seek to satisfy the desires of commercial speculators rather than to depict an empirical reality. Cook’s journals thus juxtapose a state-aligned empiricism with the suspect effusions of geographical and commercial speculation, and they validate the utilitarian knowledge-production of the former over the myths generated by the latter.

Brought to you by | provisional account Unauthenticated Download Date | 4/12/15 2:07 PM 28 C ha pt er 1 Escaping the Global Marketplace in Peter Wilkins Peter Wilkins has long resisted classification. On its first appearance the Monthly Review declared it “the illegitimate offspring of no very natural conjunction betwixt Gulliver’s travels and Robinson Crusoe,”36 using the novel’s own imagery of hybridity and illegitimacy to place it outside of the growing canon of English novels. In The Progress of Romance (1785), Clara Reeve placed Peter Wilkins in the category of the “Original and uncommon,”37 and there it has remained, drawing the praise (and, occasionally, puzzlement) of authors such as Leigh Hunt and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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