“The Great Divide” Yachting in the Arctic Seas; or Notes of Five Voyages of Sport and Discovery in the neighbourhood of Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya


    THE number of works of travel published within the last few months is probably unprecedented. Scarcely a week has passed during that time in which we have not had occasion to notice one or more in these columns. One noteworthy feature about these narratives of travel is that few of them are by what may be called professional explorers, men who have led expeditions into unknown or little known lands and seas for the sole purpose of extending our knowledge of them. They are mostly written by men who, solely from a love of adventure and sport, have left all the comforts and luxuries which wealth and a high social position can bring to undergo many of the hardships and privations which fall to the lot of those who have adopted discovery as their work in life. No doubt improvements in modes of travel, and especially in steam navigation, have something to do with this, as has also the tedium which occasionally comes upon every intelligent man who has to plod the weary round of the duties, and especially the pleasures, of civilised life. But, as we said last week, we are inclined to attribute this growing love of travel, of amateur exploration, in some degree to the general advance of intelligence urging those who can afford it to gratify their craving for knowledge by stronger stimulants than can be obtained from books. Possibly also some may think this growing love of travel in wild regions, mingled as it often is with intense delight in dangerous sport, is to some extent a breaking out of remote ancestral habit, of a habit which still clings to us from a time when our ancestors, like existing savages, were explorers and hunters of the wildest animals for dear life—a habit which only requires a favourable opportunity to be re-developed, though with a different aim. Whatever may be the causes, there can be no doubt about the fact of the rapidly-growing love of adventure and discovery, involving dangers and hardships of a very real kind. No better examples could be found than those of the authors of the two works before us,

    “The Great Divide.”

    Travels in the Upper Yellowstone in the Summer of 1874. By the Earl of Dunraven. With Illustrations by V. W. Bromley. (London: Chatto and Windus, 1876.)

    Yachting in the Arctic Seas; or. Notes of Five Voyages of Sport and Discovery in the neighbourhood of Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya.

    By James Lamont. Edited and Illustrated by W. Livesay, M.D. (Same publishers.)

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