Extreme North: A Cultural History

Extreme North: A Cultural History


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on February 15, 2022


An entertaining and informative voyage through cultural fantasies of the North, from sea monsters and a mountain-sized magnet to racist mythmaking.

People have perennially projected their fantasies onto the North as a frozen no-man’s-land full of marauding Vikings or as the unspoiled landscape of a purer, more elemental form of life. Bernd Brunner recovers the encounters of adventurers with its dramatic vistas, fierce weather, exotic treasures, and indigenous peoples—and with the literary sagas that seemed to offer an alternate (“whiter” and “superior”) cultural origin story to those of decadent Greece/Rome and the moralistic “Semitic” Bible. The Left has idealized Scandinavian social democracy. The Right borrows from a long history of crackpot theories of Northern origins. Nordic phenotypes characterized eugenics, which in turn influenced America’s limits on immigration.

The North, Brunner argues, was as much invented as discovered. A valuable contribution to intellectual history, full of vivid documentation, Extreme North is an enlightening journey through a place that is real, but also, in fascinating and very disturbing ways, imaginary.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393881004
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/15/2022
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Bernd Brunner is an historian, lecturer, and author of many acclaimed books, whose work has also appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly and Aeon. He splits his time between Istanbul and Berlin.

Chase Jefferson is the translator of some forty books from German to English, including works by Thomas Mann, Volker Ullrich, and Wolfgang Schivelbusch. He lives in Berlin.

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