49. Sonntag, August 

Professor Sonntag’s Thrilling Narrative of the Grinnell Exploring Expedition to the Arctic Ocean, in the years 1853, 1854, and 1855, in Search of Sir John Franklin, under the Command of Dr. E. K. Kane.  Philadelphia: Charles C. Rhodes, 1857. 


Supposedly depicts the Advance in winter harbor, but actually borrowed from Parry’s first voyage, from August Sonntag, Professor Sonntag’s Thrilling Narrative, 1857.


Supposedly depicts Kane’s second voyage, but actually borrowed from Franklin’s second overland expedition, from August Sonntag, Professor Sonntag’s Thrilling Narrative, 1857.

August Sonntag was the astronomer on the second Grinnell expedition, but he was not the author of this delightful tract, if his own disclaimer is to be believed.  The book was probably compiled by the publisher, Charles Rhodes, while Sonntag was conveniently away on an expedition to South America, in order to capitalize on the popularity of Kane’s own account (see item 48). 

The text is a hodge-podge of information and misinformation on all manner of arctic voyages, from Baffin’s on down, but the really intriguing feature is the set of illustrations.  First of all, there are more than one hundred of them, almost one per page. 

Some are probably original, but most have been gathered from previous expedition publications and reapplied to the Kane voyage.  For example, the plate of the Advance in winter confinement was made by taking Parry’s engraving of the Hecla and Griper and simply removing the Griper (see item 4, where the original illustration is reproduced).  The view of ships in an impressive ice field was even more impressive in its first appearance, in Franklin’s Narrative of his second overland expedition (see item 12, where the original illustration is reproduced)

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