Fergus Fleming

The World’s Most Famous Failure

Scott of the Antarctic

By

HarperCollins 637pp £25 order from our bookshop

Journals: Captain Scott’s Last Expedition

By

Oxford University Press 529pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Is there no end to Scott? People have been banging on about him for ages. Was he a great man? Was he a stupid man? Imperial martyr or unimaginative martinet? Victim of freak weather conditions or agent of his own downfall? Back and forth the arguments have gone, hagiographers and revisionists taking their turn at the literary howitzer, to a point where we are almost deafened by the crump of exploding theories. No Antarctic explorer, not even Shackleton (and that’s saying something), has attracted so much attention. One would expect, by now, that a certain amount of battle fatigue might have set in. But no. Back to your dugouts for here comes another bombardment.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,