America Magica

America Magica

When Renaissance Europe Thought it had Conquered Paradise

By Jean-Marc De Beer & Jorge Magasich-Airola
Foreword by David Abulafia

Anthem Studies in Travel

An enthralling account of the conflicting experiences of discovering the New World, drawing upon the intriguing tales of early discovery and amazing illustrations of the day.

Paperback, 226 Pages

ISBN:9781843312925

July 2007

£12.99, $22.95

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

The central characters in this book are the myths born of the European collective imagination about the lands beyond Europe and the beings who inhabited them. The New World was an irresistible attraction to Renaissance Europe and the great geographical discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries represent a unique moment in history, not only on account of the technical and human feat involved but also because the discoverers came to believe that they had reached the land of legends.

This is an enthralling account of the conflicting experiences of discovering the New World, drawing upon the intriguing tales of early discovery and amazing illustrations of the day. The authors invoke the unique exhilaration of exploration, investigating the conflict between the ambitious idealism and harsh realities that have always characterized and torn the country. After all, did people not go to America in search of both the Garden of Eden and the tribes of the damned?

Reviews

‘At its best, ‘America Magica’ exhibits one of the most impressive aspects of early 1990s work on Europe’s early modern encounter with the wider world: integrated consideration of ancient and medieval intellectual legacies, early modern cultural constructions, and the practical realities of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century life. […] A handy reference for those perusing European explorers’ journals or geographic treatises and wondering where these odd ideas about griffins, lost cities, and dog-headed men came from.’ —Paul Mapp, College of William & Mary, ‘Journal of World History’

 'This succinct book offers a useful synthesis of information concerning the ways Europeans imagined the new lands and peoples they encountered…the way the material is assembled, and the lucidity with which the authors summarise their sources makes this an engaging and perceptive study. A particular feature pf the book is the inclusion of striking black and white illustrations which pepper its pages, providing a helpful counterpart to the narrative… A well-structured and enjoyable read.' —Claire Jowitt, Nottingham-Trent University

 'This book is a wondrous map of the early modern worldview, tracing the contours of imagination and reality in the minds of European explorers, missionaries, and conquerors. What is truly delightful in reading (this) fine work is the scope of the collection of their materials. The international quality of the history is a mirror of the international quality of the book itself.' —Laura Ammon, Whittier College

'Offers fascinating insights into the ways in which a rich and complex variety of mythical narratives and images - of earthly paradises, golden cities, women warriors, and strange and wonderful creatures - structured the perceptions of European explorers and settlers of the indigenous peoples and landscapes of the New World.' —Susan Castillo, Professor of American Studies, Kings College London

Author Information

Jorge Magasich Airola is Professor of Latin American History at the Institut des Hautes Etudes des Communications Sociales (HECS) in Brussels.

Marc de Beer is Professor at the Institut de Radio électricité et de Cinématographie (INRACI) in Brussels.

David Abulafia is Professor of Mediterranean History at the University of Cambridge.

Series

Anthem Studies in Travel

Table of Contents

Foreword by David Abulafia; Preface; Introduction; In Search of the Earthly Paradise; On the Threshold of Paradise; King Solomon’s Mines in America; The Realms of Gold; The Indomitable Amazons; The Legendary Isles of the Ocean Sea; Wondrous Creatures; The Patagonian Giants; Epilogue; Notes; References; Index

Links

No Podcasts for this title.

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