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Travels in the Interior of Africa by Mungo…

Travels in the Interior of Africa (1799)

by Mungo Park

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Mungo Park's fascinating "Travels in the Interior District of Africa" tells the story of his meanderings around West Africa. His goal was to find the Niger River, which he does with enormous difficulty. Traveling alone or with a single guide, Park is robbed of most of his possessions, trying to avoid getting caught up between warring tribes and is kept prisoner by the Moors. Much of the book focuses on slavery. While it is certainly told from a colonialist perspective, the book is filled with interesting details and made for a great read. ( )
  amerynth | Jun 29, 2011 |
Mungo has an amazing ability to sketch characters in a few laconic phrases (notably the many kings he meets), shows an attention to linguistic, geographical, and botanical detail that enriches his work and makes him a great example of your imperial "Africa hand", kind of a Dark Continent proto-comptroller. Only then he gets more and more attenuated, less and less human, except instead of turning bloody like Speke or Conrad's Kurtz, he just dries up in the Sahara, a cross between TE Lawrence, post-Ring Frodo Baggins, a holy man and a desert ghost. And as he returns to the orbit of England he reinflates, and we get a lot of horribly self-righteous pro-slavery enabling colonial garbage. But the ghost must have remained in him, because from what I hear he returned, and finally made it to Timbuktu, and then died. This is compelling. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Mar 10, 2010 |
I was drawn to this because I read Water Music by TC Boyle, a very enjoyable novel that follows Mungo Park's travels in Africa to the source of the Niger. Park's account is hardly as rollicking, but it satisfied my curiosity. I was a little disappointed in the map (endpapers), commissioned specially for this edition - so many of the place names were missing it was not much of a help. I would have preferred a map of the first voyage over the double pages front inside, and the second at the back.
Now I want to read Water Music again. ( )
  overthemoon | Jul 26, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mungo Parkprimary authorall editionscalculated
Keay, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pleticha, HeinrichEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waites, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0822325373, Paperback)

Mungo Park’s Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa has long been regarded as a classic of African travel literature. In fulfilling his mission to find the Niger River and in documenting its potential as an inland waterway for trade, Park was significant in opening Africa to European economic interests. His modest, low-key heroism made it possible for the British public to imagine themselves as a welcomed force in Africa. As a tale of adventure and survival, it has inspired the imaginations of readers since its first publication in 1799 and writers from Wordsworth and Melville to Conrad, Hemingway, and T. Coreghessan Boyle have acknowledged the influence of Park’s narrative on their work.
Unlike the large expeditions that followed him, Park traveled only with native guides or alone. Without much of an idea of where he was going, he relied entirely on local people for food, shelter, and directions throughout his eventful eighteen month journey. While his warm reaction to the people he met made him famous as a sentimental traveler, his chronicle also provides a rare written record of the lives of ordinary people in West Africa before European intervention. His accounts of war, politics, and the spread of Islam, as well as his constant confrontations with slavery as practiced in eighteenth-century West Africa, are as valuable today as they were in 1799. In preparing this new edition, editor Kate Ferguson Marsters presents the complete text and includes reproductions of all the original maps and illustrations.
Park’s narrative serves as a crucial text in relation to scholarship on the history of slavery, colonial enterprise, and nineteenth-century imperialism. The availability of this full edition will give a new generation of readers access to a travel narrative that has inspired other readers and writers over two centuries and will enliven scholarly discussion in many fields.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:32 -0400)

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Duke University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Duke University Press.

Editions: 0822325373, 0822325020

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