Peter Davidson explores the topography of north as represented in images and literature, taking in Netherlandic winter paintings of the Renaissance, German Romantic landscapes, Scandinavian Biedermeyer and twentieth-century topographical painting and printmaking. The work of artists Andy Goldsworthy, Eric Ravilious and Ian Hamilton Finlay are examined, as well as the work of literary figures including W. H. Auden, Cecil Day-Lewis and John Buchan. He examines a bewildering diversity of mythologies and imaginings of north, including The Snow Queen; Scandinavian Sagas; ghost-stories; Moomintrolls, Arctic exploration; the fictitious snowy kingdoms of Zembla and Naboland; Nabokov's nostalgias; Baltic midsummer; rooms in winter light; compasses and star-stones; hoar-frost; ice and glass.
Peter Davidson is Professor of English at the University of Aberdeen. His books include Poetry and Revolution (1998) and, with Jane Stevenson, Early Modern Women Poets (2001). He lives on the 57th parallel north, has travelled widely in northern places and has read and translated accounts of north and northernness in many languages.