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The 'alien' next door: Antarctica in South American fiction


Wainschenker, P and Leane, E, The 'alien' next door: Antarctica in South American fiction, The Polar Journal, 9, (2) pp. 324-339. ISSN 2154-896X (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in The Polar Journal on 9/3/2020, available online:

DOI: doi:10.1080/2154896X.2019.1685178


The representation of Antarctica in fiction has drawn the attention of an increasing number of scholars during recent years. However, analyses undertaken so far have foregrounded English-language texts produced by writers located in the Northern Hemisphere. In these texts, Antarctica is often seen as a remote, oppositional and alien space. This article challenges the Anglocentric view of Antarctic representation by examining the way the region is imagined in South American fiction. After surveying the small body of criticism that deals with Spanish-language texts set in Antarctica, we focus closely on three twentiethcentury short works written in South America. Our analysis demonstrates that these three texts challenge the image of Antarctic as an underworld, opposed to and cut off from the rest of the world. Rather, in Antarctic literary imaginings of Argentina and Chile, the Drake Passage bridges the gap between Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica, acting not as a barrier between two opposed regions, but connecting landscapes with shared features. Aware of the evident geopolitical connotations to this construction of South American/Antarctic relations, we show that in Antarctic fiction from Argentina and Chile geographic proximity does not necessarily play in favour of nationalist rhetoric. Surprisingly, it can be at the core of texts that naturalise Anglophone hegemony. Moreover, while the three stories evoke a geographic imaginary very different from that produced by many Anglophone texts, they do not present a unified vision. Further research is needed to probe whether the geographic imaginaries constructed in these three short texts can be traced in a wider range of South American texts set in Antarctica.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:literature, Antarctica, Latin American fiction, South America, representations of Antarctica, Drake Passage
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Literature in Spanish and Portuguese
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Literature
UTAS Author:Leane, E (Professor Elizabeth Leane)
ID Code:135468
Year Published:2019
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT120100402)
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2019-10-23
Last Modified:2020-06-18
Downloads:15 View Download Statistics

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