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Four journeys by early Americans Mary Rowlandson, Sarah Kemble Knight, William Byrd II, and Dr. Alexander Hamilton recount the vivid physical and psychological challenges of colonial life. Essential primary texts in the study of early American cultural life, they are now conveniently collected in a single volume.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading pubFour journeys by early Americans Mary Rowlandson, Sarah Kemble Knight, William Byrd II, and Dr. Alexander Hamilton recount the vivid physical and psychological challenges of colonial life. Essential primary texts in the study of early American cultural life, they are now conveniently collected in a single volume.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators....

Title : Colonial American Travel Narratives
Author :
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ISBN : 9780140390889
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Colonial American Travel Narratives Reviews

  • Britta Brown
    2019-03-23 16:07

    Our literary journey begins with the Restoration of Mary Rowlandson. After being taken captive by Indians following a bloody attack on her town and home, Mary is forced to journey deep into the, "vast and desolate wilderness" against her will. Early on in her captivity she must complete an action that is entirely common for colonial travel: the crossing of rivers-- in this case, the Bacquaug River. She describes the felling of trees done by the Indians for the construction of rafts; and, thanks to a shielding layer of brush placed upon these rafts, water-shy Mary manages to make the passage across the river without getting her feet one bit wet. Here, Mary also takes note of, "the strange providence of God in preserving the Heathen." She remarks that Indians of all ages and abilities were able to cross the river most courageously-- some with babies on their backs-- but red-blooded men of the English Army were oddly unable to do so. Most of Mary's travel is done via her own two weary feet; though, she does mention one occasion when she is permitted to ride a horse along with her sick child and another Indian; however, pony rides like these are pretty rare for her. What are not rare are the entries of hers that reveal how weak of body and spirit she felt at times throughout her captivity. Passages like the following paint a particularly clear picture of the exhaustion she experienced frequently: "Before I got to the top of the hill, I thought my heart and legs and all would have broken and failed me; what through faintness and soreness of Body, it was a grievous day of Travel to me." Indeed, Mary would be one of the first of the CATN travelers to say that travel during the colonial period was no cheerful skip in the park. Having spent eleven weeks living as an Indian captive with Mary Rowlandson, we turn a couple pages to join Madame Knight on her trip from Boston to New York. I believe this is the precise point of the book where the reader begins to realize that talk relating to the crossing of a body of water-- whether it be a river, or else a river of some kind, or even (at times) some type of river-- is going to make up a sizable river's worth of the text that the reader's eyes must cross. Soon after her journey begins, Madame Knight encounters one of these said bodies of water; she writes, "...having crossed Providence Ferry, we come to a River wch they Generally Ride thro'. But I dare not venture; so the Post got a Ladd and Cannoo to carry me to tother said, and hee rid thro' and Led my hors." A bit of clarification is necessary here regarding this Cannoo watercraft device that Knight writes of; incidentally, modern-day historians describe this colonial vessel as being nearly identical in every way to a boat that we modern humans already know and love. What boat is that? Oh, the canoe.I confess, the tales of Madame Knight's travels and the peculiar spelling techniques she utilizes to relate them are quite humorous at times, but she experiences her own share of fatigue and rough terrain, too. While on her way to New Haven, CT, she describes the roads as being, "...very bad, Incumberd with Rocks and mountainos passages, wch where very disagreeable to my tired carcass." A bit farther down the page she continues, "But after about eight miles Rideing, in going over a Bridge under wch the River Run very swift, my hors stumbled, and very narrowly 'scaped falling over into the water; wch extreemly frightened mee." In fact, her "hors" does, indeed, eventually collapse dead underneath her, but-- lucky for Knight-- the poor, tired creature is polite enough to wait until the very end of the journey to do his irksome dying business. Shaking the stench of loyal, good-natured, but now (sadly) deceased steeds from our coats, we proceed with William Byrd II on an exhibition into swamp territory to survey the line between Virginia and North Carolina. "Wait, no more rivers?!" you shriek. Please, hold your dead horses. If you survey it... they (meaning rivers) will come. Byrd was careful to write down detailed descriptions of the natural world during his travels, and his avid interest in botany is showcased in the following passage about rivers, "By the way we found the Banks of the River Lined with Myrtles and Bay- Trees, which afforded a Beautiful Prospect. These beautiful Plants dedicated to Venus & Apollo grow in wet Ground." His vivid descriptions of the local flora and fauna are many, which certainly makes for a more lush and enjoyable reading 'trip', as it gives way to more complex mental visualizations. Beautiful though the landscape was, the environment presented many difficulties to Byrd and his surveyors while they ran their line. Byrd's men fought through reeds 12 feet high, dodged the attacks of vipers, and even drank from the pools made by their very boots, "The Ground was generally very quaggy, & the Impressions of Men's feet were immediately fill'd with Water. So if there was any hole made it was soon full of that Element, & by that Method it was that our People supply'd themselves with drink." Even their fires were thwarted by the soggy landscape. Yet, Byrd tried his utmost to keep his men in good humor throughout their voyage. Having had our fill of turbid boot water, we crash the journey of another Nature Lover: Dr. Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton is a sickly sort of man, and he suspects his health will be aggravated by the hot, Maryland summer, so he makes the smart decision to embark on a four-month foray into New England. Be that as it may, he isn't too concerned with any specific route; in fact, he says straight away that, "...as the journey was intended only for health and recreation, I was indifferent whether I took the nearest or farthest route, having likewise a desire to see that part of the country. I was in seeming bad order att my first setting out, being suspicious that one of my horses was lame, but he performed well and beyond my expectation. I traveled 26 miles this day." So it was that another horse suffered silently so that a colonial human could get from ferry point A to ferry point B.New England was positively flush with magical ferries! The Patapscoe Ferry, Gunpowder Ferry, Susquehanna Ferry, Elk Ferry, Bohemia Ferry, Sassafrax Ferry, Cristin Ferry, Skuylkill Ferry, Shemany Ferry, Delaware Ferry, Raretin Ferry, Amboy Ferry, Narrows Ferry, York Ferry, Naragantset Ferry, Rhode Island Ferry, Charlestown Ferry, Newburry Ferry, Salem Ferry, Lower Ferry, Providence Ferry, Ferry Bristo, Connanicut Ferry, London Ferry, Hantick Ferry, Seabrook Ferry, Stratfoord Ferry and Shammany Ferry: all were trained in the art of transporting human-folk across bodies of water. And that rascal, Hamilton, made friends with just about all of them. As Hamilton flatly put it, "I found but little difference in the manners and characteristics of the people in the different providences I passed thro'." Likewise, I felt that the manners and characteristics of Rowlandson, Knight, Byrd, and Hamilton weren't that different, either. The terrain of their human temperaments was familiar to me; I felt as if I have met people like them in my travels through life, too. Alas, maybe the rivers between our souls aren't so wide after all. Maybe we should take a lesson from Madame Knight and bravely plant a dry foot in a Metaphysical Cannoo.

  • Myles
    2019-03-28 21:56

    I picked this up on a whim while waiting for a "Historic Philadelphia" event on the 4th of July.This is a well curated selection of early travel writing, I enjoyed Martin's introduction and found it invaluable in putting the various narratives in proper context.7/30/2015 A True History of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson: Four Stars1676 - Profoundly moving account of a shattered nation struggling to adapt to an increasingly hostile neighbor. One woman gets a taste of their existence and strengthens her faith and hardens her heart in response.8/1.2015 The Journal of Madam Knight: Four Stars1704 - A very brief sketch of a succession of inadequate meals and bed chambers.8/9/2015 The Secret History of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia: and North Carolina: Three Stars1728 - Entertaining narrative, but enjoyment tainted by the author's aristocratic worldview and apparent plagiarism. World still waiting for Byrd's Secret Plan to Ethnically Cleanse North Carolina.8/22/2015 The Itinerarium of Dr. Alexander Hamilton: Four Stars1744 - Of no relation to the founding father, an amiable man treks up and down the upper Eastern colonies for his health, seeing Philadelphia, New York, New Haven, Boston and Albany among others cities with help from his "servant" Dromo. The best narrative in the collection by a long shot.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-29 15:03

    Mary Rowlandson is a woman in peril. After most of her family is killed in an Algonquin raid, she is taken captive for 11 weeks. Any Hollywood producer can tell you that this is a recipe for a blockbuster, and so it was in the 1680s and so it remains. But on a more subtle level, we're able to see Rowlandson craft her narrative in a way that transcends the male-written bookends which justify her taking up the pen. This is a truly amazing feat in an age where women who wrote could be executed for witchcraft. Despite all of her efforts to retain her faith, she ends her narrative with the image of herself in bed, late at night, unable to sleep.

  • Martin Perez
    2019-04-09 17:51

    Massively enlightening, entertaining, and informative. The travel narratives of colonial america shed much light on what the colonies looked like—which, to a non-US citizen that has always seen America as the land of the ultra-developed—appears as bewildering. The narratives in the book are complete, personal, and ultimately provoke the reader to reflect on the universality of nature and the struggle any society must endure.

  • Truitti
    2019-03-24 18:51

    An interesting read from 3 different people who journalists their experiences and travels in the 1700's America. I laughed at the humor, the sarcasm, and how much some species of people have not changed in 300 years. Some of the journal notes brought to life descriptions of the area, and enlightened me about day to day activities. I am researching family history. These monologues have helped me understand possible reasons why some ancestors relocated.

  • Lindsey
    2019-04-05 15:07

    I suggest keeping it by your bedside in case you have trouble falling to sleep one night . . . this should help!

  • Stephanie
    2019-04-05 16:48

    I think I was only fascinated with the history, the travel itself gave me a headache.