As affecting the fate of my absent husband (2009 nonfiction)

Order directly through McGill-Queens University Press or through your local bookstore; also available as an ebook

As affecting the fate of my absent husbandFrom her optimistic requests to whaling ships to her persistent demands for Admiralty aid, Lady Franklin played a crucial role in the search for her husband, lost polar explorer Sir John Franklin. Her correspondence with British prime ministers, members of Parliament, lords of the Admiralty, and a US president presents a private, domestic side to a national tragedy and sheds new light on what Franklin’s disappearance meant to England, its public, and its sense of itself as an imperial power. With comprehensive annotations, a descriptive timeline, and an introduction that outlines the significance of Lady Franklin’s contribution to the “Arctic debate,” As affecting the fate of my absent husband is a convincing portrait of the surprisingly disruptive effects of a single, eloquent, voice of dissent.

“Elce’s book is a significant landmark; it offers, for the first time, a complete collection of Lady Franklin’s public correspondence, the very letters in and through which she masterfully summoned up public and private support for further searches. It’s beautifully designed, aptly edited, and accompanied by just the right amount and kind of contextual materials that will aid the ordinary reader’s enjoyment of the volume, and yet satisfy the more scrutinizing expert. [Dr Elce’s] engagement with her subject, and grasp of the rhetorical landscape on which this lone figure stood so tall, are extraordinary.” — Dr Russell Potter, Arctic Book Review

“Lady Franklin’s letters, plus the editor’s notes and comments, are more appealing than a biography. Well recommended!” — Dr Ann Savours Shirley, Polar Record