The Cultural Geography of Colonial American Literatures: Empire, Travel, Modernity

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Ralph Bauer presents a comparative investigation of colonial prose narratives in Spanish and British America from 1542 to 1800. Bauer analyzes narratives of shipwreck, captivity, and travel, as well as imperial and natural histories of the New World in the context of transformative early modern scientific ideologies. He reviews the narrative models promoted by the "New Sciences" during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries within the context of the geopolitical question of how knowledge can be centrally controlled in outwardly expanding empires.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...[a] masterful exploration of early American in insight, powerful in originality, and sweeping in the connections it opens between culture, geography, politics, science, and the inscription of colonial identity." Dan Morisson, Salem State College, Renaissance Quarterly

"This excellent book is a distinguished addition to the comparative studies that have been one strength of the Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture series." William and Mary Quarterly, Bruce Greenfield, Dalhousie University

"The work is written in clear and precise prose following a well constructed outline with a specific goal: to offer readers a coherent critical approach to the way in which travel writers informal legal, military and scientific projects as well as creative representations of the region. Bauer's book makes significant contributions to the emerging fields of trans-Atlantic studies, trans-hemispheric studies, and the cultural geography of knowledge." The Americas, Ricardo Padrón, University of Virginia

"rich attention to context...Bauer is particularly adept at drawing on contemporary critical debates in historiography, formal criticism, and discourse analysis to better situate and delineate a mercantilism of knowledge." - American Literature, Ed White, University of Florida, Gainesville

"...dense, richly rewarding book, full of intriguing readings of both well- and little- known texts." Modern Philology, Ralph Bauer, Cambridge

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ralph Bauer is Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. His articles have appeared in numerous collections and journals.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; 1. Prospero's progeny; 2. Mythos and epos: Cabeza de Vacas's empire of peace; 3. The geography of history: Samuel Purchas and 'his' pilgrims; 4. 'True histories': the captivities of Francisco Núñez de Pineda y Bascuñán and Mary White Rowlandson; 5. 'Friends and compatriots': Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora and the piracy of knowledge; 6. 'Husquenawing': William Byrd's 'Creolean humours'; 7. Dismembering the empira: Alonso Carrió de la Vandera and J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur; Notes; Index.

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