“I THINK OF ANTARCTICA every day,” writes Leslie Carol Roberts. Anyone who has been to this fantastic, far-off continent knows exactly what she means—Antarctica is like a dream, a lost lover, “our imagined territory.” Roberts is, she freely admits, a “polar junkie,” drawn physically and emotionally to Antarctica and also drawn intellectually to the question of how the continent takes shape in the cultural imagination.
Roberts’s love affair with Antarctica begins in 1987 when, as a newspaper reporter, she joins the environmental group Greenpeace for a trip to the Great White South. As the crew loads the ship in New Zealand, she slips off to visit the Lyttelton Historical Society Museum, an old-fashioned, quirky archive of all things Antarctic, overseen by the eminent Antarctic historian, archivist, and gentleman Baden Norris. A friendship is born, which Roberts rekindles fifteen years later when she returns to write her book. The charming, understated Norris and his museum work become the perhaps unintended heart of this narrative of how history gets made through the collection and display of artifacts that tell particular stories.
Causes Leslie Roberts Supports
Environmental causes of all stripes