Tales of a Hollow Earth

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Thesis by Chaplow
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    Tales of a Hollow Earth Tracing the Legacy of John Cleves Symmes in Antarctic Exploration and Fiction. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Antarctic Studies in the University of Canterbury by L. I. Chaplow University of Canterbury 2011  i Table of Contents Acknowledgements ........................................................................................ ii   Abstract ......................................................................................................... iv   Introduction .................................................................................................... 1   Chapter One: Symmes’ Theories – A Historical Setting of the Scene ...... 14   Symmes’ Theory – A System of Theories ................................................ 15   Possible Sources for the Theory – Symmes’ Uncle’s Library ................... 19   Probable Sources for the Theory ............................................................... 22   Contemporary Responses to the Theory ................................................... 29   Later Nineteenth-Century Responses ........................................................ 34   Modern Recognition of Symmes’ Theory................................................. 36   Chapter Two: Symmes’ Legacy In Exploration ......................................... 39   Jeremiah N. Reynolds – North Pole: South Pole ....................................... 41   The 1829 Voyage of the Seraph  and the  Annawan  ................................... 44   The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 ................................ 47   Other Nations’ Southern Interests ............................................................. 52   Americus Symmes’ Re-Statement of His Father’s Theory ....................... 55   Chapter Three: Symzonia ............................................................................. 57   Reception of Symzonia  ............................................................................. 60   Questions of Genre: Defining Symzonia  ................................................... 65   Questions of Authorship ........................................................................... 71   Chapter Four: Symmes’ Legacy In Fiction ................................................ 79   Symmes’ Hollow Earth Defined ............................................................... 82   Literary Precedents of Symzonia  ............................................................... 84   Symmes and Poe ...................................................................................... 89   Symmes’s Literary Legacy Beyond Poe ................................................... 94   Conclusion: Symmes’ Lasting Legacy ....................................................... 106   Works Cited ................................................................................................ 111  ii Acknowledgements My interest in Symmes commenced some years ago as I began building an Antarctic reference library. His name and theory kept re-occurring, in both self-published and mainstream literature. This thesis is the result. Along the way I have met and corresponded with many helpful people including academics and rare book dealers. My thanks to them all, but special thanks to my supervisors; to Professor Bryan Storey for allowing me to undertake this work, and to Dr Elizabeth Leane for guiding me through the process. I am grateful and appreciative of the support given by many libraries, including Scott Polar Research Institute, The British Library, The New York Public Library and the U. S. Library of Congress. As well, several academics and rare book dealers have willingly supplied information, and exchanged e-mails in pursuit of some of the rare books and journal articles included in the references used here, many of which rare books are still available. Thanks also to a student at Yale University who obtained film copies and scans of editions held by the library, but not otherwise obtainable from a distance. No undertaking of this nature can be embarked upon without considerable emotional support, and in this instance I wish to acknowledge my wife  iii Frances, and our family who critiqued various portions of text, and endured many esoteric discussions about Symmesian and hollow-earth literature throughout the preceding year. Throughout, they have offered unwavering support and encouragement. Lester Chaplow Thames, New Zealand Lesterc@clear.net.nz February 2011
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