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Unsettled StatesNineteenth-Century American Literary Studies$
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Dana Luciano and Ivy Wilson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479857722

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479857722.001.0001

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The News at the Ends of the Earth

The News at the Ends of the Earth

Polar Periodicals

(p.158) 6 The News at the Ends of the Earth
Unsettled States

Hester Blum

NYU Press

This chapter deals with the kinds of writing and forms of imagination that emerge when familiar modes of self-location remain at a distance. Looking at newspapers produced by nineteenth-century sailors aboard polar exploration vessels, the chapter gains a sense liberation from national constraints and the advocacy of a new perspective on the globe. Yet even as this new perspective was claimed, literary labor also became a means of reinstalling social hierarchies. The traces of this reinstallation were edited out of reprints of the papers circulated onshore, revealing an attempt to portray shipboard life as more harmonious than it actually was. The remainder of the chapter discusses how the existence and function of polar newspapers raises questions about the nature of collectivity in closed, isolated, literary communities representing national interests.

Keywords:   polar periodicals, nineteenth-century sailors, polar explorations, literary labor, social hierarchies, shipboard life, collectivity

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