Book cover image for: Writing Geographical Exploration: Thomas James and the Northwest Passage, 1631-33

Writing Geographical Exploration: Thomas James and the Northwest Passage, 1631-33


Wayne K. D. Davies

$49.95 CAD / $56.95 USD

344 pages, 15 illustrations

978-1-55238-062-8 (Hardback)

978-1-55238-481-7 (Institutional PDF)

Northern Lights

March 2004

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About the Book

Writing Geographical Exploration summarizes the various factors that influence the writing and interpretation of exploration narratives, demonstrating the limitations of the assumption that there is a direct relationship between what the explorer saw and what the text describes. Davies offers a revisionist evaluation of Captain Thomas James, who spent eighteen months in search of the Northwest Passage in the 1630s, to illustrate how modern textual analysis can enrich the appreciation of a traveller’s account. Though James’s work has been dismissed in the modern period, his work was highly regarded in previous centuries by scientist Robert Boyle and poet Samuel Coleridge. James was not a first-rank explorer, but he was an able navigator and leader, a perceptive scientific observer, and a master author who produced a thrilling tale of adventure that should occupy a more prominent place in exploration writing and history, literary theory, and post-modern geography.

Wayne Davies has written over a hundred academic essays and authored or edited nine books in a wide variety of research areas, including urban geography and the methods of geography. He is professor emeritus in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary.

Praise for Writing Geographical Exploration

An ambitious book … It addresses important, even if fashionable, issues that concern all whose interest or specialism takes them into engaging with accounts of travel modern or ancient.

– C.W.R.D. Moseley, Polar Record