Personal Narrative : Of a Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent Paperback
One of the greatest nineteenth-century scientist-explorers, Alexander von Humboldt traversed the tropical Spanish Americas between 1799 and 1804.
By the time of his death in 1859, he had won international fame for his scientific discoveries, his observations of Native American peoples and his detailed descriptions of the flora and fauna of the 'new continent'.
The first to draw and speculate on Aztec art, to observe reverse polarity in magnetism and to discover why America is called America, his writings profoundly influenced the course of Victorian culture, causing Darwin to reflect: 'He alone gives any notion of the feelings which are raised in the mind on first entering the Tropics'.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 384 pages, 1 map
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 30/11/1995
- Category: Literary essays
- ISBN: 9780140445534
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Review by ChrisConway
A fascinating journey to the new world, with abundant descriptions and rich anecdotes. For example: "Francisco Lozano, a labourer who lived in this village, presented a curious physiological phenomenon that struck our imagination...This man breast feed a child with his own milk. When the mother fell ill, the father, to pacify the child, took it to bed and pressed it to his nipples. Lozano, then thirty two years old, had never noticed before that he had milk, but the irritation of the nipple sucked by the child caused liquid to accumulate. The milk was thick and very sweet." And then there's this one..."It was at the cataracts that we first heard talk about the hairy man of the jungle, called salvaje, who rapes women, builds huts, and sometimes eats human flesh. Neither Indians nor missionaries doubt the existence of this man-shaped monkey, which terrifies them. Father Gili seriously related the story of a lady from San Carlos who praised the gentle character of the man of the jungle. She lived several years with him in great domestic harmony..."