Sverdrup's Arctic Adventures. Or: What makes an Expedition Report worth reading? – Otto Sverdrup: New Land. Four years in the Arctic Regions (1903)


  • Henning Howlid Wærp Faculty of Humanities, University of Tromsø



reiseskildring, Otto Sverdrup, New Land


Otto Sverdrup, born 1854, is one of the main polar explorers in Norway. However he is much less known not only than Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen, but also than Hjalmar Johansen, who was a member of Nansen´s Fram expedition 1893-96, and also lesser known than Eivind Astrup, who took part in two of Robert Peary´s expeditons across northern Greenland in 1891-92 and 1893-94. Hjalmar Johansen and Eivind Astrup published their own accounts from the expeditons: Selv-anden paa 86°14'. Optegnelser fra Den Norske polarfærd 1893-96 (1898) and Blandt Nordpolens naboer (1895). Astrup´s book was reprinted in 1990 and 2004, and Johansen´s book was reprinted in 1942, 1949 and 2003. They are both included in the Polar Library, together with books by Nansen and Amundsen (the Polar Liberary is by Kagge publishing house).

Otto Sverdrup´s polar expedition report New Land (Nyt land), a two volume work from 1903, from the second Fram expedition 1898-1902 to north-west Greenland and northern Canada, is in comparison never reprinted. He is not in the Polar library. And his name is among readers of travelogues very much forgotten. Why is this, and what kind of book is New Land?

Author Biography

Henning Howlid Wærp, Faculty of Humanities, University of Tromsø

Henning Howlid Wærp is professor of Scandinavian literature at Faculty of Humanities, University of Tromsø. He has published a book on the Norwegian novelist Sigbjørn Hølmebakk (Innenfor og utenfor, 1990), a book on Norwegian nature poetry (Diktet natur, 1997) and a book on the prose poem (Prosadiktet i Norge, 2002; ed.). He has also edited four books on Knut Hamsun´s authorship (Hamsun- selskapet 1999, 2003, 2006 & 2008) and a book on Cora
Sandel (De upåaktede liv, 2005). He is editor of the literary
journal Edda.




How to Cite

Wærp, Henning Howlid. 2008. “Sverdrup’s Arctic Adventures. Or: What Makes an Expedition Report Worth Reading? – Otto Sverdrup: <i>New Land. Four Years in the Arctic Regions</I> (1903)”. Nordlit, no. 23 (February):304-16.




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