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The Voyage of the 'Why Not?' In the Antarctic
London: Hodder and Stoughton, [1911]. London: Hodder and Stoughton,, [1911]. The Journal of the Second French South Polar Expedition, 1908-1910. English Version by Philip Walsh. Quarto (190 √ó 250 mm). Original green cloth, spine and front board lettered in gilt, image of penguin in white on spine, front board with gilt relief of the vessel and blindstamped border. Folding frontispiece, 42 pages of black and white photographic plates. Rear board a little scuffed, plate 2 detached, three minor dents to the edges of the front board, minor foxing to the contents. An excellent copy. First English edition, translated from Charcot's Autour du Pole Sud: expedition du Pourquoi-pas 1908-1910, published in 1910. This is the account of the exploration of the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Sea led by Dr Jean-Baptiste August √Čtienne Charcot (1867-1936), in his ship, the Pourquoi-pas?. Representing a "somewhat patrician caste of polar explorer" (Stam & Stam, 7.2), Charcot led the first French Antarctic expedition (1904-07), which reached Adelaide Island. Although the account of his first voyage was not translated into English, by 1911 with a dispute raging between Scott and Shackleton over the Nimrod Expedition, the publishers deemed public interest sufficient to commission this translation of Charcot's second expedition. During his expedition, Charcot had surveyed over 2000 km of previously unknown or partially known Antarctic coastline, and he returned 28 volumes of reports and 3000 photographs, together with his popular 1910 account. Howgego notes that "in the eyes of many contemporary historians, Charcot's contribution to Antarctic science outweighs all others." Though he would never return to the Antarctic, Charcot continued his explorations long after the Second World War, until the Pourquoi-pas? was finally wrecked off the coast of Iceland on September 16, 1936, resulting in the loss of Charcot and forty-two crew members, with only a single survivor. This is a fascinating account, richly illustrated with dramatic photographs from the expedition - perhaps "an unspoken apology for previous British indifference to France's efforts in the Antarctic" (Mackenzie, Milton and Kossow).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2014-06-17           Check availability:      Biblio    

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