“A Fine, Sunshiny Night":

The Authorial Afterlife of Captain James Fitzjames of the Third Franklin Expedition

  • Kathleen Kasten-Mutkus Stony Brook University


The Third Franklin Expedition of the British Royal Navy set sail in 1845 in search of the Northwest Passage.  There were no survivors of the expedition, and nearly all records associated with it were lost.  This personal and textual disappearance severed the narrative control of those who participated in the expedition and sought to write about their experiences.  This article examines the authorship and the authorial afterlife of Captain James Fitzjames, an officer of the Third Franklin Expedition, with an emphasis on the ways in which Fitzjames’ legacy has been contextualized and recontextualized across time, discourse, and format.

Author Biography

Kathleen Kasten-Mutkus, Stony Brook University

Kathleen Kasten-Mutkus is currently Head of Humanities and Social Sciences at Stony Brook University Libraries. Her research focuses on the archival practices and preoccupations of nineteenth-century polar expeditions, as well as the ways in which these gestures have been contextualized and re-contextualized over time. Her work has been published in Polar Record and presented at national and regional conferences. Additionally, Kathleen has written and presented on the relationship between texts, libraries, and readers and how it is conditioned by issues of materiality and access. Her recent work in this area has been published in Library Resources & Technical Services and portal: Libraries and the Academy. Kathleen holds a PhD in French from the University of Pennsylvania and an MLS from Queens College (City University of New York).

How to Cite
Kasten-Mutkus, K. (2021). “A Fine, Sunshiny Night":. Authorship, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.21825/aj.v9i1.17638