Into the Wilderness Dream: Exploration Narratives of the American West, 1500-1805
Not just an exploration of our early Western European roots, these rich chronicles read as literature, first-person narratives of the greatest exploration adventures in historic times. From the Platonic vision of Atlantis to Arthur’s Avalon, pre-Columbus Europeans imagined fabulous lands to the west—and after 1492, initial reports of a new world filled with golden El Dorados, warrior queens, and Fountains of Youth merely provided confirmation.
Although these dreams were soon tempered by reality, explorers continued to set off with expectation that shaped what they say, how they saw, and how they reacted. This complex of attitudes continues to affect the way we view our world, and these accounts provide an excellent source for insight into the metaphorical systems that have permeated European and American writing about the West since the Sixteenth century.
Into the Wilderness Dreams draws from the best of three dozen accounts by the Spanish, French, English, and American explorers who came before Lewis and Clark, and explores the roots of present Western Euro-American culture.