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the land of mist and snow

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," line 134, repeated in lines 378 and 403 (1798: lines 383, 408). In the 1818 edition, the allusion is noted only through quotation marks, allowing the knowing reader to make the connection between Coleridge's sublime tale of moral transgression and the events to unfold in the novel. No effort is made to affect the time frame of the novel. In the 1831 text, on the other hand, Walton self-consciously attributes his own thirst for adventure partly to the influence of this poem, presumably encountered among the volumes of poetry he read after exhausting Uncle Thomas's library of discovery. This forces an impossible chronology on the novel, since Coleridge's poem was published, as Walton dates his letters, only fifteen months before the 17--s became the 18--s.