An Arctic Eden: Alexander Hutchinson’s Try Lapland and the Hospitable North


  • Heidi Hansson Umeå University, Sweden.


As tourism boomed in the latter half of the nineteenth century, depictions of the Scandinavian North as a testing place for heroes gave way to representations where the region emerges as accessible and hospitable. Travel narratives like Alexander Hutchinson’s Try Lapland: A Fresh Field for Summer Tourists (1870) played an important role in modifying the previously dominant paradigm. This article discusses Hutchinson’s travel book as a transitional text where the North is transformed from a place of danger to a place of leisure. The redefinition of the region includes, among other things, a female gendering of the area compared to the masculine image of the Arctic conveyed in exploration narratives and a projection of the author as visitor and consumer rather than conqueror and explorer. The representation of place is inextricably bound up with the representation of self in the text, and by presenting himself as a middle-class tourist, Hutchinson presents Swedish Lapland as closer to English suburbia than to the North Pole. In this way, he contributes to the place-making that designs Lapland as a tourist destination in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Author Biography

Heidi Hansson, Umeå University, Sweden.

Professor of English Literature






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