Terror and Erebus by Gwendolyn MacEwen: White Technologies and the End of Science

Renée Hulan
2015 Nordlit: Tidsskrift i litteratur og kultur  
<p align="LEFT"><span style="font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">This paper examines Canadian poet Gwendolyn MacEwen's verse play </span><span style="font-family: TimesNewRomanPS-ItalicMT;">Terror and </span><span style="font-family: TimesNewRomanPS-ItalicMT;">Erebus </span><span style="font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">by considering the play's representation of technology in light of its own </span><span style="font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">poetic technologies. </span><span style="font-family:
more » ... style="font-family: TimesNewRomanPS-ItalicMT;">Terror and Erebus </span><span style="font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT;">is a play for voices that features four </span>characters: Franklin, Crozier, Rasmussen, and Qaqortingneq. As the character Rasmussen searches for the traces of the lost expedition, imagining the voices of the explorers in their final hours, his investigation reveals how the "white technologies" used to explore the Arctic succumb to the environment without the indigenous knowledge possessed by the Inuit who inhabit the Arctic. The paper shows how MacEwen's literary vision contrasts recent coverage of efforts to locate the Franklin ships which have ignored or down-played Inuit testimony. Working from Rasmussen's transcriptions of Qaqortingneq's voice, MacEwen represents Inuit knowledge and technology as both an alternative to the model of scientific discovery underwriting the Franklin expedition and as source of the authoritative account of what happened to Franklin and his crew.</p>
doi:10.7557/13.3429 fatcat:ixy77delkngtzb3iuzdzfwyj5y