2017-07-30 03:28:02

Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vol. II by Frederick Catherwood

Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vol. II by Frederick Catherwood

Page Updated: Jul 30, 2017
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Book review

This is Volume 2 of John L. Stephens' "Incidents of Travel in Yucatan," a two-volume work that remains one of the great stories of archaeological discovery, and at the same time one of the few really absorbing books of travel. Before Stephens' expedition to Yucatan in 1841, little was known of that country; the Maya Indian culture, for example, had not been discovered. Stephens found, and described in this work, forty-four Maya sites; his account of these remains is, after more than close to two centuries, still the most authoritative in existence. Important as it is to the world of science, this work is nonetheless a great classic of travel and exploration. Stephens' descriptions of Yucatecan folkways, manners, dress, amusements, ceremonies, etc., are extremely articulate, and the frequent humorous passages are told with all the adroitness of a Mark Twain. Whether he is depicting a feast-day in Merida, the ferocity of a bullfight, the rude pathos of an Indian burial, or his own attempts to start a photography business among the natives, Stephens' prose remains consistently penetrating and alive. Frederick Catherwood's highly exact and realistic drawings, famous in their own right, virtually double the overall appeal of the work.

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Frederick Catherwood
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