1898 · London
by (ARCTIC EXPLORATION). NANSEN, FRIDTJOF
London: George Newnes, Ltd, 1898. Second Edition. 235 x 165 mm. (9 1/2 x 6 1/2"). Two volumes. Attractive contemporary marbled half calf over marbled boards, gilt-decorated raised bands flanked by plain gilt rules, spine panels with gilt botanical centerpiece. With three frontispieces, one folding map, and numerous illustrations in the text, 110 of them full-page. Front pastedown of each volume with red morocco book label of J. Kimpton. PMM 384. Front joint of first volume cracked (with a little looseness to the board), a little rubbing and a few nicks to leather, short split along one fold of map, endpapers lightly foxed, but an excellent copy, internally clean and fresh in a pleasing binding. First issued in 1897, this amply illustrated work recounts Nansen's epic pursuit of the North Pole in 1893-96, during which time he travelled closer to the top of the world (86 degrees, 14 minutes north) than had any other known person. He and a small crew set off from Norway in a specially designed boat, and some six months later purposefully embedded it in the ice in order to drift with the Arctic current, which Nansen believed would carry them from the coast of Siberia northwest to the pole. But in mid-drift, he realized the current would not carry him far enough, so he and crewmate Frederik Johansen set out across the ice with a dogsled. Nansen and Johansen were gone for more than a year before stumbling upon an exploration party from England that eventually returned them to Norway, where Nansen found himself an international sensation. Written in two months, "Farthest North," says author Andrew Nieland, "lacks literary polish, but Nansen's eye for detail and indomitable spirit shine through. Because he wrote while still thawing from his adventures, his story has an exciting immediacy, one that the passing of a century has done little to diminish. As a historical document, as an epic adventure, and as a revival of a worthy hero long forgotten, 'Farthest North' is a tale well worth remembering." Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (1861-1930) was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, and diplomat who had a doctorate in zoological and histological studies. Before his voyage toward the North Pole, he had traversed Greenland and told about his journey in "The First Crossing of Greenland" (English translation, 1890). After his Arctic exploits and the publication of "Farthest North," Nansen became a professor of oceanography. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his work as a League of Nations High Commissioner.
(Inventory #: ST15557-19)