While Thomas James is not widely known today, this was not always the case: his 1633 publication The Strange and Dangerous Voyage of Captaine Thomas James was, until the early nineteenth century, the British public's primary source of information about what we now know as northern Canada. The account of his attempt to find the Northwest Passage and the winter he spent on an island in James Bay made his name synonymous with exploration and the north. Over the centuries James's narrative was used to compile travel books and to compose philosophical treatises, histories, children's books, as well as poetry and novels - most notably, it influenced Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Colleen Franklin's critical edition of the Voyage is the first since 1894. Her introduction details how James engages with both medieval and early modern perceptions of the north as well as the early modern imperative to base knowledge on observation and experience, and offers a history of the text's reception from its first publication into the nineteenth century. An invaluable reference on the early European exploration of North America, The Strange and Dangerous Voyage of Captaine Thomas James sheds new light on the representation of the Canadian north.
Thomas James. London: 1740. – “The Strange and Dangerous Voyage of Captaine Thomas James.” In The Voyages of Captain Luke Foxe and Captain Thomas James in Search of a North-west Passage, 1631–2, ed. Miller Christy, vol. 2.
Author: Colleen M. Franklin
Publisher: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP
Category: Literary Criticism