Monday, April 7, 2014


One of the things that I have found most striking in The Land of White Death is the lack of emotion in Albanov's voice. I understand that this could be due to the fact that the book was translated from Russian, but I think it goes deeper than that. Towards the beginning, when we don't get journal passages, but rather Albanov's description of events, we get detail and some emotion. After the crew abandons the Saint Anna, emotion drops entirely out of the book.

I am impressed with Albanov's ability to describe incredibly emotional events, such as the theft of his most important supplies, and yet leave the reader feeling as if they are viewing this as an outside party, despite having Albanov's exact words there with him. Clearly this is an account, not a narrative and I think the lack of emotion contributes to this more than the fact that the book is mostly Albanov's journal entries. Albanov's physical descriptions of his surroundings are very detailed and paint a good portrait of the landscape, but the reader gets nothing about the emotions of the sailors.

1 comment:

  1. One of the things that I am curious about is whether the writing and publishing trends of 1914 contributed to Albanov's decision to publish his journal without much embellishment and narration. Were readers overexposed to the more "true" adventure narratives of arctic expeditions? We hear about the tons of adventure books that Zeke read and that we know existed at the time and I think it's possible that Albanov weas trying something different.

    I guess what is bugging me is that Albanov took the time to write an account of the pre-departure and pre-abandonment Saint Anna with some history, context, emotion and detail and then abruptly shifted to his journal entries. Was he trying something different due to the fads of the time, or did he feel that intentionally leaving the interpretation to the reader would help add to the book?