Aurora Australis (book)

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Aurora Australis title page

Aurora Australis was the "first book ever written, printed, illustrated and bound in the Antarctic".[1]

Bibliographic details[edit]

Aurora Australis was written during the British Imperial Antarctic Expedition or the Nimrod Expedition (1908–09) led by Ernest Shackleton. Produced entirely by members of the expedition, the book was edited by Shackleton, illustrated with lithographs and etchings by George Marston, printed by Ernest Joyce and Frank Wild, and bound by Bernard Day. The production of Aurora Australis was one of the cultural activities Shackleton encouraged while the expedition team over-wintered at Cape Royds on Ross Island in the McMurdo Sound, to ensure that "the spectre known as 'polar ennui' never made its appearance".[2]

The copyright notice from Aurora Australis notes its origins.

Because the copies of Aurora Australis were unnumbered, it is unclear exactly how many were produced; it is believed that one hundred copies were created, of which less than seventy have been accounted for.[3] Copies of the book are often identified by the original stencils on the inside of the covers, which were made of boards from wooden supply boxes.[4]:10 Shackleton may have originally intended to sell copies of the book on his return from the Antarctic, but instead they were all distributed among the members of the expedition and given to other "friends and benefactors of the expedition".[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shackleton, Ernest (1909). The Heart of the Antarctic: being the story of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909. London: Heinemann. vol. 1, p.217. 
  2. ^ Shackleton, Ernest (1909). The Heart of the Antarctic: being the story of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909. London: Heinemann. vol. 1, p.216. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Paul (March 13, 2006). "Shackleton's Aurora could fetch £20,000". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  4. ^ For example, the National Library of Australia's copy is known as 'Butter 267'. Mawer, Allen (March 2009). "Light in the South" (PDF). The National Library Magazine. 1 (1): 8–11. Retrieved January 18, 2011. 
  5. ^ Shackleton, Ernest (1986). Aurora Australis. Alburgh, Harleston, Norfolk: Paradigm Press. p. xx. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]