Catalogue


Bright paradise : Victorian scientific travellers /
Peter Raby.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1997.
description
276 p. : ill.
ISBN
0691048436 (pbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1997.
isbn
0691048436 (pbk.)
catalogue key
1444106
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1997-11-15:
Global in their travels and undaunted by difficulties of climate and disease, a special clique of Victorians sought out, preserved, classified, and shipped back home insects, plants, fishes, and mammals from around the world. English professor Raby (Homerton Coll., Cambridge) focuses on the British men and women who pursued this field work, their publications, and the controversies they created, participated in, or solved. In the early chapters, Raby focuses on specific continents; later chapters examine the use in literature of "scientific travelers" and the issues their work raised. Well written, fascinating, and with wide appeal, this should be in all collections.‘Michael Cramer, North Carolina Dept. of EHNR Lib., Raleigh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1998-04-01:
The pervasive interest in travel today, and the author's vivid memories of reading about the adventures of the Victorian naturalist-voyagers as a student in a British boarding school in the 1940s, inspired him to write this book. The underlying theme is that the voyages of discovery were instrumental in developing the foundation of evolutionary biology and modern taxonomy. Raby focuses on the journeys of Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, Thomas Henry Huxley, Joseph Dalton Hooker, Henry Walter Bates, and other Victorian naturalists, but he also examines, in detail, the influence of such pre-Victorians as Carl von Linne (Linnaeus), Alexander von Humboldt, and Joseph Banks, noting that Captain Cook's explorations served as "the framework" for the later explorations. This is a readable and well-illustrated work but it contains a few careless mistakes; e.g., it erroneously refers to Banks's able Swedish assistant as Douglas Solander--in the index as well as in the text--instead of correctly identifying him as Daniel Carl Solander. Nevertheless, it is quite a useful reference for students of natural history and historians of science embarking on their own intellectual journey. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. S. Schwartz CUNY College of Staten Island
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1997-10-20:
Raby (Samuel Butler) has written about an interesting topic in a largely uninteresting way. In his account of the travels of 19th-century British naturalists to remote areas of South America, Africa and Asia, he pays little attention to the travelers' scientific work. While he does recount some of Alfred Wallace's and Charles Darwin's contributions to the theory of evolution, his treatment of Henry Bates, Richard Spruce, Mary Kingsley and others is restricted to their adventures beyond the pale of "civilization." In the process, Raby occasionally entertains readers with his accounts of naturalists riding on the backs of crocodiles, battling massive anacondas and making first contact with various indigenous peoples. This latter is potentially the most absorbing aspect of the book, but here too, Raby fails to analyze how explorers' attitudes toward these natives changed (or failed to change) over the course of the 19th century. He also makes contrary claims as to the impact of the scientists' reports on Britain's subsequent treatment of the visited continents. While this book is refreshingly evenhanded, well researched and occasionally entertaining, it would have benefited greatly from more analysis. Illustrated. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
A thoroughly interesting, amusingly illustrated, and truly thought-stimulating tale.
"A thoroughly interesting, amusingly illustrated, and truly thought-stimulating tale."-- John Fowles , Spectator
A thoroughly interesting, amusingly illustrated, and truly thought-stimulating tale. -- John Fowles", Spectator
A thoroughly interesting, amusingly illustrated, and truly thought-stimulating tale. -- n Fowles", Spectator
Lucid . . . fast-moving . . . skillful. . . .Bright Paradiseis good at conveying the overwhelming energy of the Victorian scientific traveller, but is also poignant in its suggestion that this energy was ultimately directed at its own extinction as a species.
Lucid . . . fast-moving . . . skillful. . . . Bright Paradise is good at conveying the overwhelming energy of the Victorian scientific traveller, but is also poignant in its suggestion that this energy was ultimately directed at its own extinction as a species.
"Lucid . . . fast-moving . . . skillful. . . . Bright Paradise is good at conveying the overwhelming energy of the Victorian scientific traveller, but is also poignant in its suggestion that this energy was ultimately directed at its own extinction as a species."-- Literary Review
Lucid . . . fast-moving . . . skillful. . . . Bright Paradise is good at conveying the overwhelming energy of the Victorian scientific traveller, but is also poignant in its suggestion that this energy was ultimately directed at its own extinction as a species. -- Literary Review
Lucid . . . fast-moving . . . skillful. . . .Bright Paradiseis good at conveying the overwhelming energy of the Victorian scientific traveller, but is also poignant in its suggestion that this energy was ultimately directed at its own extinction as a species. -- Literary Review
Peter Raby's book follows a disparate crew of botanists, scientists, and collectors who tried to order the earthly paradise which unfolded around them. Entrepreneurs they may have been--many were dependent on selling their specimens to finance their trips--but they were also scrupulous and sensitive observers. . . . Raby finds some shimmering personalities. . . . His book is excellent.
"Peter Raby's book follows a disparate crew of botanists, scientists, and collectors who tried to order the earthly paradise which unfolded around them. Entrepreneurs they may have been--many were dependent on selling their specimens to finance their trips--but they were also scrupulous and sensitive observers. . . . Raby finds some shimmering personalities. . . . His book is excellent."-- Daily Telegraph
Peter Raby's book follows a disparate crew of botanists, scientists, and collectors who tried to order the earthly paradise which unfolded around them. Entrepreneurs they may have been--many were dependent on selling their specimens to finance their trips--but they were also scrupulous and sensitive observers. . . . Raby finds some shimmering personalities. . . . His book is excellent. -- Daily Telegraph
Raby delights in detailing the many hardships these explorers endured--from predatory anacondas to hostile Tibetan tribesman--but never loses sight of their large achievements: the extent to which they changed our views of nature, of the interdependence of species, of indigenous cultures and of how life on earth evolved.
"Raby delights in detailing the many hardships these explorers endured--from predatory anacondas to hostile Tibetan tribesman--but never loses sight of their large achievements: the extent to which they changed our views of nature, of the interdependence of species, of indigenous cultures and of how life on earth evolved."-- Francine Prose, The New York Times Book Review
Raby delights in detailing the many hardships these explorers endured--from predatory anacondas to hostile Tibetan tribesman--but never loses sight of their large achievements: the extent to which they changed our views of nature, of the interdependence of species, of indigenous cultures and of how life on earth evolved. -- Francine Prose, The New York Times Book Review
Well written, fascinating, and with wide appeal. . . .
"Well written, fascinating, and with wide appeal. . . . "-- Library Journal
Well written, fascinating, and with wide appeal. . . . -- Library Journal
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, September 1997
Publishers Weekly, October 1997
Library Journal, November 1997
Choice, April 1998
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Whether looking for the sources of the Nile, the Niger, or the Amazon, penetrating the Australian outback, or searching for the Northwest Passage, the Victorians were intrepid explorers, zealously expanding the limits of science and human knowledge. InBright Paradise, Peter Raby describes brave voyages and gives us vivid and unforgettable portraits of the larger-than-life personalities of Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace, and Henry Bates, glorious examples of Victorian energy and confidence. He also explores wider issues such as the growth of knowledge and the spread of the empire. Witty, provocative, and exciting in the breadth of its research, this book charts an important period of scientific advance and transforms it into a compelling narrative.
Main Description
Whether looking for the sources of the Nile, the Niger, or the Amazon, penetrating the Australian outback, or searching for the Northwest Passage, the Victorians were intrepid explorers, zealously expanding the limits of science and human knowledge. In Bright Paradise , Peter Raby describes brave voyages and gives us vivid and unforgettable portraits of the larger-than-life personalities of Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace, and Henry Bates, glorious examples of Victorian energy and confidence. He also explores wider issues such as the growth of knowledge and the spread of the empire. Witty, provocative, and exciting in the breadth of its research, this book charts an important period of scientific advance and transforms it into a compelling narrative.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction: To the World's Beginningp. 1
The Scientists of the Surveyp. 17
The Heart of Africap. 42
The Naturalists in the Amazonsp. 75
From the Amazon to the Andesp. 98
The Plant-huntersp. 124
Wallace and the King Bird of Paradisep. 148
The Savage Apep. 178
Natural Perspectivesp. 196
A New Mythologyp. 215
Through the Looking-Glassp. 248
Bibliographical Notesp. 258
Indexp. 265
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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