"Sailor, novelist, and scientist-also explorer" Frank Burnett, Canada's Kon-Tiki, and the ethnographic middlebrow

Kuttainen, Victoria (2014) "Sailor, novelist, and scientist-also explorer" Frank Burnett, Canada's Kon-Tiki, and the ethnographic middlebrow. Canadian Literature, 221. pp. 74-91.

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This article focuses attention on an interesting, overlooked contributor to early twentieth century Canadian writing, Frank Burnett, whose collection of South Pacific artifacts formed the nucleus of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. It draws upon scholarship of travel narratives about science as well as middlebrow print culture to introduce and elaborate a particular class of texts identified here as "the ethnographic middlebrow." These texts, this paper argues, inhabited a peculiar and culturally variable space in relation to the academic fields of science and literature and popular tastes for adventure, escape, and celebrity. Reading Burnett's early twentieth century writing about the South Pacific in relation to the mid-century Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl illuminates a variety of national and international dynamics at work in positioning each of these writers in relation to highbrow literature, ethnographic science, late colonial modernity, and the middlebrow.

Item ID: 37912
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0008-4360
Funders: Margaret and Colin Roderick
Projects and Grants: Transported Imagination
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2015 07:30
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200524 Comparative Literature Studies @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950506 Understanding the Past of the Americas @ 100%
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