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Cover for I May Be Some Time

I May Be Some Time

Ice and the English Imagination

Francis Spufford


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Francis Spufford explores the British obsession with polar exploration in a book that Jan Morris, writing in The Times, called, "A truly majestic work of scholarship, thought and literary imagination . . ."

The title, a last quote from one explorer to his party as he left their tent never to return, embodies the danger and mystery that fueled the romantic allure of the poles and, subsequently, the British imagination. Far from being a conventional history of polar exploration, I May Be Some Time attempts to understand what was going on in the minds of the polar explorers as they headed toward destinies like Terra Nova.

Serving up a heady brew of Captain Perry, Jane Eyre, gastronomic obsessions with iced desserts, and the daily lives of Eskimos, Spufford treats the reader to one of the most satisfying and imaginative contemporary works dealing with exploration and human need.

Praise For I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination

“. . . a high-cultural history, both passionate and intricate . . . Breathtaking.” —The Boston Globe

“An engaging, elegant, often majestic work of cultural history.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Thoughtful, suggestive and oddly fascinating.” —Men's Journal

St. Martin's Griffin, 9780312220815, 388pp.

Publication Date: July 30, 1999

About the Author

Francis Spufford writes for the Guardian and lives in Cambridge, England, with his wife and daughter. He received a Somerset Maugham Award for his book on ice exploration, I May Be Some Time.