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Arctic Science and Fiction: A Novel by a Soviet Geologist
Humboldt University, Berlin.
2010 (English)In: Journal of Northern Studies, ISSN 1654-5915, no 1, 67-86 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article analyses the popular novel Sannikov’s land (published in 1926) by the famous Russian and Soviet geologist Vladimir A. Obruchev (1863–1956) and asks how scientific discourse on the one hand and literary, fictional discourse on the other hand interact in this text that tells the story of the discovery of an Arctic island that a Russian merchant had asserted to have seen, but the existence of which never could be affirmed. Basing his novel exclusively on well-founded scientific (geological as well as anthropological) hypotheses, Obruchev polemizes with a whole range of pretexts from J. Verne to K. Hloucha. Unfolding the story of the Russian expedition, Obruchev pursues the aim (1) to deconstruct the utopian myth of a paradise on earth beyond the Arctic ice in its countless varieties; (2) to show that ancient myths—like the myth of the existence of warm islands in the Arctic—are a form of protoscientific insight that should be taken seriously by modern science and transformed into scientific knowledge; and (3) to suggest that the Arctic islands—really existing, supposed to exist or be doomed—from a geological point of view belong to the Siberian mainland and therefore to Russian/Soviet territory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University & The Royal Skyttean Society , 2010. no 1, 67-86 p.
Keyword [en]
Arctic science fiction, visions of Arctic warming, utopian mythopoetics of the Arctic, Soviet conquest of the Arctic, Arctic geology, geographic conceptualization of the Arctic, Vladimir A. Obruchev, Jules Verne
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43241OAI: diva2:412566
Available from: 2011-04-28 Created: 2011-04-25 Last updated: 2011-04-28Bibliographically approved

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