Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New issue of NIMROD

Although I wasn't able to attend the Shackleton Autumn School in Athy, this past October, I'm delighted to report that the latest issue of NIMROD, the school's journal, is now available. Editor Seamus Taaffe has brought together a fine and representative array of papers, most of which are drawn from talks given at last year's meeting.

In addition to an excellent overview of the school's many highlights over the past 10 years by my good friend Joe O'Farrell, this issue offers some impressive examples of the kinds of high-quality, wide-ranging papers presented at last year's meeting. It would be false modesty not to mention an essay on which well-known Arctic author Kenn Harper and I collaborated; it details the remarkable history of very early Arctic films -- all made in or before 1920 -- featuring Arctic scenes and Inuit people, particularly Nancy Columbia. Kenn was able to present a few clips from these rare films at last year's meeting, while others were shown in a programme arranged by Dr Huw Lewis-Jones and myself; this article gives the remarkable backstory to how these films -- including 1911's "Way of the Eskimo," the first Inuit-written, Inuit-cast dramatic film in history -- were produced. The essay is richly illustrated with stills, adverts, and on-set snapshots, many of them never before published, from Kenn's extensive collection.

Another highlight for me is Michael H. Rosove's "The Great Books of Shackletonia"; as was his talk last year, it too is richly illustrated with covers and title pages of the books he describes, many of them extraordinarily rare. Bob Headland also contributes a fine piece on "Historic Huts of the Antarctic from the Heroic Age," and Jim McAdam gives his account of Shackleton and Fur Sealing on the Falkland Islands. Three informative book reviews by Paul Davies, Kevin Kenny, and Robert Stephenson round out the volume, which is well-printed on good, heavy-weight stock and stoutly bound. At just €12 each, it's an extraordinary value; copies may be ordered online here.

Next up: the new issue of the Trafalgar Chronicle, also just published, offers a trove of articles, many of them looking to the Franklin expedition. Watch this space for a full account.