I May be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination by Francis Spufford

The Lovereading4Kids comment

November 2009 Guest Editor Geraldine McCaughrean on I May Be Some Time by FRANCIS SPUFFORD

I don’t read non-fiction except when researching, so I came across Spufford while researching Antarctica. His style is so beautiful it should come with a spoon under the lid. He turns fact into poetry. I May Be Some Time asks why Brits go to insane, frozen lengths in the name of exploration. His account of Scott’s last journey is the best bar none and makes your heart pound clean out of your chest.


I May be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination by Francis Spufford

When Captain Scott died in 1912 on his way back from the South Pole, his story became a myth embedded in the English imagination. Despite wars and social change, despite recent debunking, it is still there. Conventional histories of polar exploration tend to trace the laborious expeditions across the map, dwelling on the proper techniques of ice navigation and sledge travel, rather than asking what the explorers thought they were doing, or why. This book, in contrast, is about the poles as they have been perceived, dreamed of, even desired, and offers a cultural history of a national obsession with polar explorers and mountaineers. It sets out to show how Scott's death in 1912 was the culmination of a long-running national enchantment with perilous journeys to the ends of the earth.

About the Author

Francis Spufford

Francis Spufford, a former Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year (1977), has edited two acclaimed literary anthologies and a collection of essays on the history of technology. His first book, I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination, was awarded the Writers Guild Award for Best Non-Fiction Book of 1996 and a Somerset Maugham Award, and also inspired a Frankfurt Ballet production and a clown show at the Edinburgh Festival 2001. His second, The Child that Books Built, was described as 'witty, compelling and elegant' by the New Statesman. His third, Backroom Boys, was called a 'beautifully written book' by the Daily Telegraph and was shortlisted for the Aventis Prize and longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Francis Spufford lives in Cambridge.

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Book Info




Francis Spufford
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Faber and Faber

Publication date

7th April 2003




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