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Geography of Hard Times, A

Narratives about Travel to South America, 1780-1849

Angela Perez-Mejia, Dick Cluster

Publication Year: 2004

This fascinating glimpse into South America’s past focuses on the works of four European voyagers who came to South America and left a legacy of travel writing in their wake: José Celestino Mutis, a Spanish botanist and doctor; Alexander von Humboldt, a German geographer; Maria Graham, a British historian; and Flora Tristán, a French feminist and labor activist whose father was Peruvian. Each took on his or her voyage as a personal endeavor, and collectively their travels covered the Andes from its northern traces in Venezuela to the southern heights of Chile and Arequipa. Their writing contributed to the construction of a complex map of the Andes in which many levels of physical and social geography may be read. By analyzing the travelers’ narratives, illustrations, and maps, Ángela Pérez-Mejía unravels the rich complexities of the colonial travel experience, explores its impact on both the object of description and the traveler’s subjectivity, and the collective readership seeking a discourse of nationhood.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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title page, copyright page

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p. v


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p. vii


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pp. ix-xi

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pp. 1-7

"THE HARD TIMES that are the focus of this study open, symbolically, withthe crucial year 1780, which marked the beginning of the end of the colonial period for the countries of South America. The event that justifies singling this particular year out of a century chock-full of discontent within the Spanish viceroyalties1 is, of course, the murder in Cuzco’s central plaza of José..."


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chapter one

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pp. 17-37

"MANY PAINTINGS and sculptures memorialize Jos

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chapter two

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pp. 39-71

"ON JULY 6, 1801, Alexander von Humboldt, his comrade Aim


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chapter three

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pp. 81-101

"THE FIRST EDITION of Maria Graham’s 1824 book, A Journal of a Residence in Chile During the Year 1822,1 contains a reproduction of a drawing in the author’s own hand (Figure 3.1), in which she herself appears as a character. Though this print does not appear in any subsequent edition (perhaps because of its poor quality), it has a special value because in it the author..."

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chapter four

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pp. 103-122

"IN 1839, IN THE CENTRAL PLAZA of the city of Arequipa in southern Peru, Don Pío Tristán set fire to a pile of recently arrived books. They were copies of Les Pérégrinations d’une paria: 1833–1834.1 Don Pío, the paternal uncle of Flora Tristán (1803–1844), was publicly rejecting the image of his family..." and country presented in his niece’s account of her travels during 1833 and

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pp. 123-124

"AT THE END of every voyage comes a moment of looking back so as to reconsider where to go from here. We may link our reading of these four texts, guided by a reflection about the transformations experienced by these travelers in the course of hard times linked to contemporary situations as well. Reading maps, illustrations, and texts simultaneously, we become aware..."


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pp. 125-143


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pp. 145-154


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pp. 155-167

E-ISBN-13: 9780791485453
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791460139
Print-ISBN-10: 0791460134

Page Count: 167
Illustrations: 21 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 62364751
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Geography of Hard Times, A

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Humboldt, Alexander von, 1769-1859 -- Diaries.
  • Travelers' writings, European -- History and criticism
  • Callcott, Maria, Lady, 1785-1842 -- Diaries.
  • Visitors, Foreign -- Latin America -- History -- 18th century.
  • Andes Region -- Description and travel.
  • Mutis, José Celestino, 1732-1808 -- Diaries.
  • Visitors, Foreign -- Latin America -- Attitudes.
  • Visitors, Foreign -- Latin America -- History -- 19th century.
  • Andes Region -- Social life and customs.
  • Tristan, Flora, 1803-1844 -- Diaries.
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