NEW WORLDS AHEAD: Firsthand Accounts of English Voyages by John--Ed. Hampden

NEW WORLDS AHEAD: Firsthand Accounts of English Voyages

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Abridged, sporting modernized spelling and punctuation, these excerpts (mostly from Hakluyt) are filled with first and lasting impressions of Elizabethan and sixteenth century voyages. They vary from the formal fleet orders of M. Frobisher, searching for a northwest passage, to letter-home descriptions of diseases suffered on a passage to India to records of exchanges with ""savages"" and not-so-simple people. Some distinguish between fact and hearsay: the (South American) Eponymy were ""supposed"" to have eyes in their shoulders, mouths in the middle of their breasts, and a long train of hair growing backward between their shoulders. Others reveal simple hopes: William Adam' account of detainment--in splinter--by the Japanese emperor states a foremost desire lo see wife and children. They were a ""lusty"" (vigorous) lot, whether looking for gold or gems or land or spices, and in many cases (sometimes because of God's providence), ""with their miseries they opened a way to these new lands; and after these (settling) storms, with what ease other men came to inhabit them."" Inclusion of the everyday (weather conditions, meals, etc.) furthers the sense of authenticity.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1968
Publisher: Farra, Straus & Giroux