978-0-691-04843-7 / 9780691048437

Bright Paradise


Publisher:Princeton University Press



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About the book:

Were Victorian explorers tools of imperialism? Accomplices in conquest and genocide? Well, perhaps, and even probably. The 19th-century English explorers who sought the origins of the Nile and the heights of the Himalayas saw themselves as agents of excellence, paragons of Victorian values, and they were well aware that they opened the door for compatriots who traveled not for knowledge but for wealth. Peter Raby examines the lives and work of the great Victorian peripatetic scientists, defending them from their modern detractors and highlighting the accomplishments of those who climbed mountains in search of tea and crossed jungles in quest of orangutans and cities of gold. Some were hapless, like the snakebit Henry Walter Bates; others were fearless, like Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, the archetype of adventure. All were interesting, and Raby does a fine job of presenting them to us.

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