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Through Alien Eyes: The Visit of the Russian Ship Rurik to San Francisco in 1816 and the Men behind the Visit
     

Through Alien Eyes: The Visit of the Russian Ship Rurik to San Francisco in 1816 and the Men behind the Visit

by Edward Mornin
 

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During the month of October 1816, San Francisco received a visit from the Russian brig Rurik, only the third non-Spanish vessel to call at what was then a small colonial garrison and mission town on the extreme edge of Spanish North America. In this book the author provides English translations of reports of the visit (originally in German and French) by the

Overview

During the month of October 1816, San Francisco received a visit from the Russian brig Rurik, only the third non-Spanish vessel to call at what was then a small colonial garrison and mission town on the extreme edge of Spanish North America. In this book the author provides English translations of reports of the visit (originally in German and French) by the ship’s captain Otto von Kotzebue, naturalist Adelbert von Chamisso, and on-board artist Louis Choris. Eleven illustrations by Choris are also reproduced, including celebrated scenes and portraits of California mission Indians. Edward Mornin provides biographical sketches of the three reporters, a historical account of Rurik’s round-the-world voyage, and a critical discussion of the observations of Kotzebue, Chamisso, and Choris, with their ideological and cultural determinants, especially with regard to the Indians under the control of the Spanish missionaries. The book shows how the narrative accounts of Kotzebue, Chamisso, and Choris, together with Choris’s graphic record, continue to fascinate not only for their engaging portrayal of San Francisco’s early inhabitants and the circumstances of their lives, but as shadow portraits of the reporters themselves and of the European cultures that produced them.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
«Informative and well-organized, the book will be a useful introduction to the history and ethnography of the California coast in the early nineteenth century.» (Richard Pierce, International Journal of Maritime History)
«...Mornin’s book is a nice addition to the growing body of literature in English on Russian impressions of North America and offers some useful information about the conditions in Spanish California during this very tumultuous time in Spanish history.» (Lee A. Farrow, The Russian Review)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9783906769592
Publisher:
Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften
Publication date:
10/03/2002
Series:
North American Studies in Nineteenth-Century German Literature and Culture Series , #32
Pages:
125
Product dimensions:
8.66(w) x 5.91(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

The Author: Edward Mornin is Emeritus Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He has published widely in the field of 19th-century German-language literature, especially Romantic literature, and is also the author of two books on the Scottish-German anarchist writer John Henry Mackay. A notable focus of his research, and of the present book, has been the Franco-German poet and scientist Adelbert von Chamisso.

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