A Geography of Hard Times: Narratives About Travel to South by Angela Perez-Mejia, Dick Cluster

By Angela Perez-Mejia, Dick Cluster

Unravels the wealthy complexities of the colonial trip event.

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Extra resources for A Geography of Hard Times: Narratives About Travel to South America, 1780-1849 (Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture)

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Quinas Amargas, 226) Mutis later gives a detailed description of the process of fermenting quinine. As he himself explains, it is exactly the same process used by the indigenous people in the preparation of their most popular drink, which was chicha. The result is that the scientist must criticize the judgments of European science in a tone that cannot but remind us of Las Casas: Thus we conjecture that the Indians made greater use of the quinine, but the human weakness of regarding as barbarous the inventions of peoples lacking in the culture of our times, with the specious pretext of improving them, tends to worsen their state.

Wrapping itself around the botanist comes the Mutisia, the involving, entangling nature that completely takes over the Diario de observaciones just as it took over the life of the historical character there portrayed. The painting thus summarizes a travel book that, like so many, is also the story of an interior journey, of a transformation provoked by the visited reality. A reading of this text from the perspective of the subjectivity, desire, and transformations that make themselves felt in the journal allows us to look at another facet of the ambiguous desire of those Europeans who contracted the malady of America.

MUTIS 29 At the moment (eleven months after having arrived) I am lacking many things that would contribute to alleviating the discomforts suffered by one away from home, but now in some manner I have adapted, until God pleases to return me from this exile and place me in my own country, surrounded by family and friends, whom I will entertain for a long while with my abundant harvest of tasty species. (Viaje a Santa Fe de José Celestino Mutis, 1991, 212) He has made the decision to stay until he can assemble the “abundant harvest” which he will take back to his country, and he still places his role as a doctor above all of others.

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