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Arctic Artist

The Journal and Paintings of George Back, Midshipman with Franklin, 1819-1822

by Stuart Houston

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list price: $95.00
also available: Hardcover
category: Art
published: 1994
imprint: MQUP

Back's journal is particularly valuable because it is the only one that records the entire expedition; Franklin himself relied on it for his own published account of the journey. Both the journal and Back's earlier notes have been edited by Houston, who provides an introduction and extensive annotations, as well as synopses of the frank comments regarding the expedition recorded in the various journals of the Hudson's Bay fur trade posts.

I.S. MacLaren's commentary on Back's paintings reveals a midshipman-artist of exceptional talent. Conversant with the artistic conventions and aesthetic temper of his age, Back used his sketch-books not only to depict the expedition's progress but also to capture his imaginative response to the northern wilderness. MacLaren edits and comments on two other documents written by Back during the expedition: a candid letter to his brother and a poem dramatizing the disaster that claimed the lives of eleven of the twenty explorers in Franklin's party.

Arctic Artist will be of interest to Franklin and Arctic enthusiasts, and to Canadian studies, northern studies, art history, and anthropology specialists.

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About the Author

Stuart Houston

Stuart Houston received his early education in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, his M.D. from the University of Manitoba, his fellowship in diagnostic radiology from the Royal College, and a D.Litt from the University of Saskatchewan. He was editor of the Journal of the Canadian Association of Radiologists, head of the Department of Medical Imaging at the University of Saskatchewan, a member of council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, president of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine and vice president of the American Ornithologists' Union.

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