Scenes of Visionary Enchantment: Reflections on Lewis and Clark

Overview


Suffering from a case of “road fever” brought on by prolonged exposure to the journals of Lewis and Clark, Dayton Duncan has retraced the Corps of Discovery’s route from Saint Louis to the Pacific and back again four different times during the past twenty years—to say nothing of his countless additional trips to landmarks along their route. In sweltering summer heat and in temperatures 45 degrees below zero, he watched yellow moons rise and heard buffalo thunder; navigated against the Missouri River’s relentless...
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Overview


Suffering from a case of “road fever” brought on by prolonged exposure to the journals of Lewis and Clark, Dayton Duncan has retraced the Corps of Discovery’s route from Saint Louis to the Pacific and back again four different times during the past twenty years—to say nothing of his countless additional trips to landmarks along their route. In sweltering summer heat and in temperatures 45 degrees below zero, he watched yellow moons rise and heard buffalo thunder; navigated against the Missouri River’s relentless current and stood on its surface, frozen solid overnight; canoed a dozen times through Montana’s magnificent White Cliffs (Lewis’s “seens of visionary inchantment”); and read the journals by candlelight in the expedition’s fort on the Pacific coast. Along the way, Duncan wrote the essays that make up this book, essays that guide the reader on a journey of discovery along the trail of Lewis and Clark.

More a revisiting than a retelling of the story of the Corps of Discovery, Duncan’s book reintroduces us to people and places along the trail, reflects on events large and small that occurred during the expedition, and offers constant—and constantly entertaining—insights into why, two centuries later, the saga of Lewis and Clark continues to exert such a powerful hold on our national imagination.

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Editorial Reviews

Nebraskaland

"In his collection of 17 finely crafted essays, Duncan brings the dramatic, significant or revealing moments of the exhibition alive, and draws compelling themes and lessons from each story. . . . Duncan is one of the most vivid guides to the expedition writing today. In an essay entitled 'The Lewis and Clark Guide to Leadership,' Duncan draws ten points from the Corps that every would-be captain today should read and follow."—Nebraskaland
Booklist

"Essays on eclectic aspects of America's most famous road trip. . . . Duncan's orations typically draw inspiration from something in the explorers' journals that instantly resonates with enthusiasts, such as Lewis' escape from a bear, or simply a rapturous phrase, such as the one Duncan borrowed for his title."—Booklist
Rocky Mount Telegram

"The compelling cast of characters seems to leap from the pages as they might in a well-written novel—but here they are all part of a carefully documented and researched history."—Mae Woods Bell, Rocky Mount Telegram

— Mae Woods Bell

Montana: The Magazine of Western History - Joseph A. Mussulman

“The threads uniting the seventeen colorful vignettes in Scenes of Visionary Enchantment are the colors, textures, sounds, and human experiences inherent in the grand story of the Lewis and Clark exploration.”—Joseph A. Mussulman, Montana: The Magazine of Western History
Great Plains Quarterly - Carolyn Gilman

“For decades, Lewis and Clark have been blessed with eloquent chroniclers who have retold their story in far more dramatic ways than the participants did themselves. But no writer—not DeVoto, not Ambrose—tells this story with the flair and passion of Dayton Duncan.”—Carolyn Gilman, Great Plains Quarterly
Rocky Mount Telegram - Mae Woods Bell

"The compelling cast of characters seems to leap from the pages as they might in a well-written novel—but here they are all part of a carefully documented and researched history."—Mae Woods Bell, Rocky Mount Telegram
Booklist

"Essays on eclectic aspects of America's most famous road trip. . . . Duncan's orations typically draw inspiration from something in the explorers' journals that instantly resonates with enthusiasts, such as Lewis' escape from a bear, or simply a rapturous phrase, such as the one Duncan borrowed for his title."—Booklist

Great Plains Quarterly

“For decades, Lewis and Clark have been blessed with eloquent chroniclers who have retold their story in far more dramatic ways than the participants did themselves. But no writer—not DeVoto, not Ambrose—tells this story with the flair and passion of Dayton Duncan.”—Carolyn Gilman, Great Plains Quarterly

— Carolyn Gilman

Montana: The Magazine of Western History

“The threads uniting the seventeen colorful vignettes in Scenes of Visionary Enchantment are the colors, textures, sounds, and human experiences inherent in the grand story of the Lewis and Clark exploration.”—Joseph A. Mussulman, Montana: The Magazine of Western History

— Joseph A. Mussulman

Nebraskaland

"In his collection of 17 finely crafted essays, Duncan brings the dramatic, significant or revealing moments of the exhibition alive, and draws compelling themes and lessons from each story. . . . Duncan is one of the most vivid guides to the expedition writing today. In an essay entitled 'The Lewis and Clark Guide to Leadership,' Duncan draws ten points from the Corps that every would-be captain today should read and follow."—Nebraskaland

Library Journal
An admittedly die-hard fan of Lewis and Clark, Duncan (Out West: A Journey Through Lewis & Clark's America; Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip) is extremely knowledgeable about the Corps of Discovery's expedition, which is reflected in this fine collection of 16 road essays inspired by his retracing Lewis and Clark's trail over the past 20 years. He picks events both big and small which tease out those minute, everyday details that broaden our understanding of Corps members and their incredible journey to the Pacific Ocean and back. While Duncan regrets that the Corps members' journals mostly record facts and do not explore feelings and personalities ("these are not the diaries of teenage girls," he understates), his familiarity with the journals, firsthand experiences on the Lewis and Clark trail, and mastery of the research of others help fill in the gaps. Duncan exhorts readers to "travel in the spirit of Lewis and Clark-with curiosity and wonder," something that many people will undoubtedly do as this year marks the 200th anniversary of the start of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Highly recommended.-Margaret Atwater-Singer, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Montana: The Magazine of Western History

“The threads uniting the seventeen colorful vignettes in Scenes of Visionary Enchantment are the colors, textures, sounds, and human experiences inherent in the grand story of the Lewis and Clark exploration.”—Joseph A. Mussulman, Montana: The Magazine of Western History

— Joseph A. Mussulman

Great Plains Quarterly

“For decades, Lewis and Clark have been blessed with eloquent chroniclers who have retold their story in far more dramatic ways than the participants did themselves. But no writer—not DeVoto, not Ambrose—tells this story with the flair and passion of Dayton Duncan.”—Carolyn Gilman, Great Plains Quarterly

— Carolyn Gilman

Annals of Iowa - Vernon L. Volpe
“Each essay or address presented here typically first appeared in another setting, yet this collection can nonetheless ‘enchant’ both veteran readers and those not yet ensnarled in the Lewis and Clark web. . . . Duncan is an inspired storyteller adept at enthralling audiences already conversant with the details and successes of the mission. Passionately presented, this volume is excellent evidence of that remarkable ability.”—Vernon L. Volpe, Annals of Iowa
Annals of Iowa

“Each essay or address presented here typically first appeared in another setting, yet this collection can nonetheless ‘enchant’ both veteran readers and those not yet ensnarled in the Lewis and Clark web. . . . Duncan is an inspired storyteller adept at enthralling audiences already conversant with the details and successes of the mission. Passionately presented, this volume is excellent evidence of that remarkable ability.”—Vernon L. Volpe, Annals of Iowa

— Vernon L. Volpe

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803245143
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 202
  • Sales rank: 1,198,438
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Dayton Duncan

Dayton Duncan is an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker and the author of twelve books, including Out West: A Journey through Lewis and Clark’s America and Miles from Nowhere: Tales from America’s Contemporary Frontier, both available in Bison Books editions. His most recent books (coauthored with Ken Burns) are The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and The Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
1 An Unsatisfied Curiosity 1
2 Great Expectations: Lewis in Philadelphia 14
3 Days of Discovery 26
4 Independence Creek 35
5 The Alexander Hamilton Willard Expedition 39
6 Of Hearths and Home 53
7 "This Long Wished for Spot" 63
8 "Seens of Visionary Inchantment" 73
9 Meriwether Lewis's "Curious Adventure" 84
10 "Toilsome Days and Wristless Nights" 93
11 "The Most Hospitable, Honest and Sincere People" 106
12 Hallowed Ground 118
13 Meditations on a Grave 133
14 The View from the Home Front 145
15 The Lewis and Clark Guide to Leadership 160
16 We Proceeded On 184
17 "O! The Joy": Trail Advice for the Modern Explorer 193
Note on Sources 199
Acknowledgments 201
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