Making of Arctic heroes. Charles Brower’s Fifty Years below Zero, Jan Welzl’s Thirty Years in the Golden North, and ideas of Arctic heroism and national character
This thesis examines literary representation and imaginative construction of arctic heroism and national character in autobiographical memoirs Fifty years Below Zero by Charles Brower (an U.S. writer) and Thirty Years in the Golden North by Jan Welzl (a Czech author from the Austro-Hungarian Empire). I discuss the ways Brower and Welzl fashion heroic images of themselves in their texts, and how these heroic images fit into the paradigm of turn-of-the-century heroic polar literature and the paradigm of the national character in American and Czech nation-building pedagogical discourses in the times when the narratives were published. I thereby examine a position of Brower’s and Welzl’s texts within the framework of national ideology related, in Brower’s case, to Alaska as the ‘Last Frontier’, and, in Welzl’s case, to the emergence of independent Czechoslovakia. The conclusion I draw is that the narrators became national Arctic heroes and their narratives popular partly because their narratives and self-portrayals satisfied the demands of the genres of polar literature, but partly also because they challenged the very ideas on which these genres had been formed.
ForlagUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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