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Voyages in Print


  • 21 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 228 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.35 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521036504)

The decades leading up to England's first permanent American colony saw not only territorial and commercial expansion but also the emergence of a vast and heterogeneous literature. In the multiple relations of writing to discovery over these decades, these texts played a role more powerful than that of simple recording. They needed to establish certain realities against a background of scepticism - the possibility of discovery, the lands discovered, the intentions and experiences of the discoverers - and they also had to find ways of theorizing their enterprise. Yet conceiving of the American enterprise positively or even survivably proved surprisingly difficult; the voyage narratives evolved almost from the outset as a genre concerned with recuperating failure - as noble, strategic, even as a form of success. Reception of these texts from the Victorian era on has often accepted their claims of heroism and mastery; through a careful re-reading, Mary Fuller argues for a more complicated, less glorious history.

• Provides readings of important travel works by Richard Hakluyt, Walter Raleigh and John Smith • Proposes a model of travel writing as a mixed genre rather than either history or literature • Pays close attention to the English context as opposed to making broad cross-cultural arguments


List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Early ventures: writing under the Gilbert and Ralegh patents; 2. Ralegh's discoveries: the two voyages to Guiana; 3. Mastering words: the Jamestown colonists and John Smith; 4. The 'great prose epic': Hakluyt's Voyages; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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