MY VOYAGE AROUND THE WORLD by Francesco Carletti


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This journal by a Sixteenth-century Florentine merchant of his trip around the world has a You-Are-There realism so quietly catlike with authenticity that it is ure to become a classic of cultural-anthropological escapism. He has a way of preenting sights and observations so that the reader falls into them effortlessly. Carletti left Florence at eighteen to go to Seville to learn about shipping. When he and his father sailed from Spain in a rented ship in 1594, they little suspected they would be eight years on the high seas, that his father would die en route, that Carletti's wealth would evaporate in the results of a sea battle and that he would be four years more in returning to Florence. But--he had been to West Africa as a laver, to North and South America, to the Philippiness, Japan, China and India, hence to East India. Carletti does not hesitate to describe what he saw, much of which is like Margaret Mead out of marco Polo, particularly the slavery passages. His description of Japan and the inhumanity of samurai has the bristling horror of Goya's Disasters of War. Whether his subject is repugnant or entertaining, Carletti remains clear-eyed as a lens.

Publisher: Pantheon