Arctic Artist: The Journal and Paintings of George Back, Midshipman with Franklin, 1819-1822

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, Oct 25, 1994 - Art - 403 pages
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Back's journal is particularly valuable because it is the only one that records the entire expedition; Franklin himself relied on it for his own published account of the journey. Both the journal and Back's earlier notes have been edited by Houston, who provides an introduction and extensive annotations, as well as synopses of the frank comments regarding the expedition recorded in the various journals of the Hudson's Bay fur trade posts. I.S. MacLaren's commentary on Back's paintings reveals a midshipman-artist of exceptional talent. Conversant with the artistic conventions and aesthetic temper of his age, Back used his sketch-books not only to depict the expedition's progress but also to capture his imaginative response to the northern wilderness. MacLaren edits and comments on two other documents written by Back during the expedition: a candid letter to his brother and a poem dramatizing the disaster that claimed the lives of eleven of the twenty explorers in Franklin's party. Arctic Artist will be of interest to Franklin and Arctic enthusiasts, and to Canadian studies, northern studies, art history, and anthropology specialists.
 

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Contents

Stromness to York Factory
3
York Factory to Cumberland House
7
Cumberland House to Fort Carlton
28
Fort Carlton to Fort Chipewyan
44
Fort Chipewyan to Fort Enterprise
65
To Point Lake and Return
84
Fort Enterprise to Fort Chipewyan
93
Fort Chipewyan to Fort Enterprise
109
Preparations To Leave Fort Enterprise
117
Descent of the Coppermine River
125
Exploring the Arctic Coastline
148
Point Turnagain to Obstruction Rapids
163
Obstruction Rapids to Moose Deer Island
182
Great Slave Lake to York Factory
201
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About the author (1994)

Houston is Professor of Medical Imaging, University of Saskatchewan.

I.S. MacLaren teaches Canadian history and Canadian literature at the University of Alberta in the departments of History and Classics, and English and Film Studies. His research interests include history of the book, narratives and sketches by explorers and travelers of western and northern Canada, early Canadian poetry, and the history of the Rocky Mountain national parks. He is an adjunct professor with the Canadian Circumpolar Institute.

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