University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Histories, cultures, environments and politics research seminars - Scott Polar Research Institute > Polar Opposites: American and Norwegian voices in the exploration of Franz Josef Land

Polar Opposites: American and Norwegian voices in the exploration of Franz Josef Land

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Capelotti will discuss his research into the history of place names in Franz Josef Land, and read from his new book The Greatest Show in the Arctic: the American exploration of Franz Josef Land, 1898-1905. This delves deeply into three fatally flawed American attempts to reach the North Pole from the Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land between 1898 and 1905. The expeditions were led, in turn, by a nationally-syndicated journalist running from debts, a mistress, and an illegitimate daughter; a deranged meteorologist with a fetish for balloons and Swedish conserves; and a pious photographer in search of God in the Arctic. All three leaders were supported by international casts of characters worthy of a three-ring circus. Two of the expeditions were haunted by still-unexplained deaths and all witnessed both improbable triumphs and ultimate failures.

This talk is part of the Histories, cultures, environments and politics research seminars - Scott Polar Research Institute series.

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