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"Once Bitten, Twice Shy": Cultural Arrogance and the Final Franklin Expedition

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Abstract:

Whether warranted or not, one of the names most commonly associated with Arctic exploration is that of John Franklin. In the 155 years since his death, he has been celebrated as the tragic hero who finally brought Britain's centuries-old quest for the Northwest Passage to a close, but he has also been vilified as "a plodding man, gloomy, bumbling, and bovine" (McGoogan, 2001, p. 221), whose vast "cultural arrogance" (Wilson, 2001, p. 71) cost him not only his own life, but those of 128 men aboard the Erebus and Terror. While there is some truth to both perspectives, neither is entirely accurate. Each view represents a divergent pole on the continuum of popular opinion.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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