The Myth of the Explorer

Beau Riffenburgh

The Myth of the Explorer - Beau Riffenburgh
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Aantal pagina's223
UitgeverijOxford University Press




The characters of explorers such as Livingstone, Nansen, Stanley, and Peary have assumed almost mythical proportions. Their names are associated with images of heroism, self-sacrifice, and patriotism.

In reality, however, many exploratory expeditions were tainted by deception, greed, incompetence, ignorance, and failure. How is it, then, that the heroic myths have been created and perpetuated?

Concentrating on exploration between 1855 and 1910, Beau Riffenburgh examines how the sensation-hungry Anglo-American press created the popular culture of the explorer, and reveals both the subterfuge as well as the genuine bravery behind events such as the solution of the mysteries surrounding the sources of the Nile, the search for the survivors of the Jeannette disaster, and Cook and Peary’s claiming of the attainment of the North Pole.

Based on extensive original research, the book reassesses many explorers’ reputations and makes intriguing links between popular culture, the growth of science, imperialism, and the role of the media.