The Man on the Ice Cap. The Life of August Courtauld.

Courtauld was a British yachtsman who notably spent a winter alone as meteorologist on the Greenland icecap in 1930-31, where he had considerable reading matter.

p. 119: There they lay for two nights while the snow piled against the walls and reduced the space inside still more. But they were glad of the rest and read books, wrote diaries, and sang sea-shanties.

p. 121, from Courtauld’s diary: Tent shaking and beating all day. Finished Tess of the d’Urbs. Only have Conrad’s Victory left.

p. 124, Nov. 16th: Another gale got up in the night so again we lay up all day indulging in alteration of cooking and reading aloud. The results were oatcakes of a sort, toffee, peas, the whole of King John, sundry sonnets and the whole of Alice in Wonderland.

p. 135, later Courtauld was alone on the ice cap for an extended period of 4 ½ months: Mental exercise concerned him from the beginning….he took a star sight…. Next day he played a game of chess against himself. Luckily as well as the books he had brought with him, he had others left by earlier occupants—a random library varying from Thackeray and Scott to Galsworthy and Whitaker’s Almanack, but probably as good as anything he might have chosen. ‘There were times,’ he wrote, ‘when the Bible made very good reading.’

p. 138, Christmas day: Books good—Jane Austen and Great Sea Stories—and nothing to disturb the peace except the wind….

p. 142, January 10: Reading Guy Mannering. V.V.G. Description of food made me writhe, worse than Forsyte Saga, but I like reading about it…. Finished Guy Mannering. Jolly good book…. Just finished Jane Eyre. It is a great book, one of the best I have ever read…. Finished Wuthering Heights. Now reading Pepys and Vanity Fair…. A foul gale is blowing at present.

p. 150: In short lighted intervals am reading Forsyte Saga again. Extremely good….

p. 168, enroute home after rescue read Count of Monte Cristo [as did Courtauld on a return journey].