How does the human mind transform space into place, or land into landscape? For more than three decades, William L. Fox has looked at empty landscapes and the role of the arts to investigate the way humans make sense of space. In Terra Antarctica, Fox continues this line of inquiry as he travels to the Antarctic, the “largest and most extreme desert on earth.” This contemporary travel narrative interweaves artistic, cartographic, and scientific images with anecdotes from the author’s three-month journey in the Antarctic to create an absorbing and readable narrative of the remote continent. Through its images, history, and firsthand experiences—snowmobile trips through whiteouts and his icy solo hikes past the edge of the mapped world—Fox brings to life a place that few have seen and offers us a look into both the nature of landscape and ourselves.
Looking into the Emptiest Continent
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“...an enthralling guided tour of the human mind's attempt to make space into place, and land into landscape.” —Nature
WILLIAM L. FOX is the recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. He is the author of numerous books including Driving to Mars and Making Time. He has been a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute and a Lannan Foundation Writer in Residence. He lives in Burbank, CA.
“If you read only one book about Antarctica, you won’t go wrong choosing this one.” —Books in Heat
“In this insightful book, [Fox] chronicles his Antarctic sojourn during the austral summer of 2001–2002, recording his impressions of the landscape and the people who live at McMurdo Station on Ross Island and at Pole, a newer station a few hundred feet away from the South Pole… A fascinating look at the “windiest, coldest, highest, and driest continent on earth” and man’s creative responses to it, this seems the perfect read after seeing The March of the Penguins.” —Publishers Weekly
“Fox vividly describes his own disorienting sensory experiences while trekking across the world’s largest desert and offers a fresh and enlightening history of the two disciplines have that enabled us to ‘see’ otherwise incomprehensible places: cartography and landscape art. This leads to intriguing portraits of Antarctica’s first explorers and the gifted men who mapped, drew, painted, and photographed its spectacular and daunting vistas, staggering accomplishments Fox compares to today’s intrepid Antarctic science and art in a lively report on life at McMurdo Station and the South Pole. Thoughtful and enjoyable on many fronts, Fox’s uniquely fashioned chronicle of Antarctica brings into sharper focus the crucial symbiosis between art and science.” —Booklist Starred Review
“Readers interested in how humans have struggled with nature to develop techniques to master the inaccessibility of the world around them will want this book on their shelves… an enthralling guided tour of the human mind’s attempt to make space into place, and land into landscape.” —Nature