“THE HIGHEST LATITUDE THEN REACHED BY MAN”: NANSEN'S FARTHEST NORTH
Farthest North, Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship Fram 1893-96.
Item Number: 67016
London: George Newnes, 1898.
Octavo, two volumes. Original cloth over bevelled boards, upper boards blocked in gilt, silver and red, with vignettes depicting Fram icebound, spines blocked in gilt and silver with titles and vignettes, pictorial endpapers, all edges speckled in red. Portrait frontispiece in volume I and monochrome frontispiece in II, 64 monochrome plates, one color-printed plate, one color-printed folding map by John Bartholomew & Co., monochrome illustrations and diagrams, 46 full-page, one full-page map, and letterpress tables in the text. In near fine condition. A very sharp example.
In 1890, Norwegian scientist and explorer Fridtjof Nansen announced an innovative plan for Northern polar expeditions. “His theory, that a drift-current sets across the polar regions from Bering Strait… towards the east coast of Greenland was based on a number of indications… His intention was to get his vessel fixed in the ice to the north of Eastern Siberia and let her drift with it.” Although criticized, his plan succeeded. “His ship, the ‘Fram’ (‘Forward’), was specially built of immense strength and peculiar form” in order to endure the ice-floes. “During the winter of 1894-95 it was decided that an expedition should be made northward over the ice on foot in the spring… Being satisfied that the ‘Fram’ would continue to drift safely,” Nansen led the expedition to 86 degrees North, “the highest latitude then reached by man” (Britannica).