The Legacies and Frozen Time of Antarctica: Robert Falcon Scott, Peter Pan and Rebecca Hunt’s Everland

Jessica Hewenn


Antarctica hosts access to the tangible past, with ice-cores working as an archive of the earth’s climate memory. However, our constructed cultural memories of Antarctica are more difficult to read, and our records of the past were written with an eye to their legacy for the future. Rebecca Hunt’s 2014 novel, Everland, critiques Antarctic exploration legacy as a way of remembering and learning from the past. Her novel juxtaposes two expeditions, set a century apart, and depicts time as frozen through the use of repetitions and doppelgängers. I contend that this challenge to cultural memory is connected specifically with Robert Falcon Scott’s legacy, and particularly the link between Scott and J.M. Barrie’s eternal youth, Peter Pan. Scott is represented as a Lost Boy of the Neverland of Antarctica, and this problematic conception of Antarctica itself as a Neverland of the Victorian Imperial era is part of our cultural memory of the continent. While exploring the problematisation of legacies of the past raised by Hunt’s novel, I assert that the book exhibits the present historically, pointing to our own legacy left for the future, and indicates the dangers of intentionally ignoring or misremembering the present. I argue that by confronting our cultural memories of Antarctica, we are re-evaluating both Antarctica’s past, and its future.


Antarctica; Rebecca Hunt; legacy; Scott; ecocriticism; historical fiction


Bainbridge, Beryl. The Birthday Boys. 1991. London: Penguin, 1993.

Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911.

---.“Courage.” The Rectorial Address Delivered at St. Andrews University. 3 May 1922. Project Gutenberg, 21 January 2004. Web. 19 October 2015.

Brazelli, Nicoletta. “Postcolonial Antarctica and the Memory of the Empire of Ice.” Le Simplegadi 12 (2014): 127-141.

Carty, Peter. “Book Review: Everland by Rebecca Hunt.” 23 March 2014. Web. 08 January 2015.

Dodds, Klaus. “Scott of the Antarctic (1948): Geopolitics, Film and Britain's Polar Empire.” Acme 65.3 (2012): 59-70.

Glasberg, Elena. “Refusing History at the End of the Earth: Ursula Le Guin's ‘Sur’ and the 2000-01 Women's Antarctica Crossing.” Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 21.1 (2002): 99-121.

Hunt, Rebecca. Everland. London: Penguin, 2014.

Hutcheon, Linda. “Historiographic Metafiction Parody and the Intertextuality of History.” Intertextuality and Contemporary American Fiction. Ed. O'Donnell, P., and Robert Con Davis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989. 3-32.

Jones, Max. “From ‘Noble Example’ to ‘Potty Pioneer’: Rethinking Scott of the Antarctic, c. 1945–2011.” The Polar Journal 1.2 (2011): 191-206.

Kyte, Holly. “Everland by Rebecca Hunt, Review.” Telegraph. Telegraph, 14 March 2014. Web. 21 November 2015.

Leane, Elizabeth. Antarctica in Fiction: Imaginative Narratives of the Far South. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Peake-Tomkinson, Alex. “Rebecca Hunt: Poles Apart.” Bookanista. Bookanista, n.d. Web. 17 November 2015.

Pyne, Stephen. The Ice. 1987. London: Phoenix, 2004.

Robinson, Kim Stanley. Antarctica. 1997. New York: Bantam, 1999.

Rosner, Victoria. “Gender and Polar Studies: Mapping the Terrain.” Signs 34.3 (2009): 489-494.

Spufford, Francis. I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination. London: Faber and Faber, 1996.

Webber, Andrew J. The Doppelgänger: Double Visions in German Literature: Double Visions in German Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.

Wheeler, Sara. “Everland by Rebecca Hunt.” FT. Financial Times, 25 April 2014. Web. 11 January 2015.

Živković, Milica. “The Double as the ‘Unseen’ of Culture: Toward a Definition of Doppelgänger.” Facta Universitatis-Linguistics and Literature 2.7 (2000): 121-128.


  • There are currently no refbacks.