"THE HIGHEST LATITUDE THEN REACHED BY MAN": FIRST EDITION OF NANSEN'S FARTHEST NORTH
NANSEN, Fridtjof. Farthest North, Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship Fram 1893-96. Westminster: Archibald Constable, 1897. Two volumes. Octavo, original gilt-stamped pictorial blue-green cloth, uncut. $1250.
First edition in English of Nansen's account of his own polar expedition, with frontispiece portrait, four folding maps printed in color, and more than 112 illustrations from sketches and photographs, of which 16 are printed in color, in original cloth.
In 1890, Norwegian scientist and explorer Fridtjof Nansen announced an innovative plan for Northern polar expeditions. "His theory, that a drift-current sets across the polar regions from Bering Strait… towards the east coast of Greenland was based on a number of indications… His intention was to get his vessel fixed in the ice to the north of Eastern Siberia and let her drift with it." Although criticized, his plan succeeded. "His ship, the Fram ('Forward'), was specially built of immense strength and peculiar form" in order to endure the ice-floes. "During the winter of 1894-95 it was decided that an expedition should be made northward over the ice on foot in the spring… Being satisfied that the Fram would continue to drift safely," Nansen led the expedition to 86 degrees North, "the highest latitude then reached by man" (Britannica). First published in Norwegian earlier the same year. Arctic Bibliography 11983. See PMM 384. Bookseller label.
Light foxing to endpapers and edges of text blocks, original cloth quite lovely, gilt bright. A very nearly fine copy.