Wanderings in South America
by Charles Waterton, edited by L. Harrison Matthews
Oxford University Press, 1973, [First Edition], b/w plates, b/w illustrations, hardcover, dustjacket, ISBN 0192554050
Very Good Condition, ex-library (stamps and sticker residue to inside front cover, protected dustjacket), minor edge and shelf wear
'The book offered a new form of travel narrative, with the author's eccentric personality constantly in evidence. His famous account of riding on an alligator and his casual references to eating a boiled toucan or dining on roast monkey startled and delighted the imagination of the public. Sydney Smith in his review (1826), reprinted in this volume, wrote, 'The first thing which strikes us in this extraordinary chronicle is the genuine zeal and inexhaustible delight with which all the barbarous countries he visits are described. He seems to love the forests, the tigers, and the apes - to be rejoiced that his is the only man there ... He writes with a considerable degree of force and vigour; and contrives to infuse into his reader that admiration of the great works, and undisturbed scenes of Nature, which animates his style, and has influenced his life and practice.'
Many of Waterton's observations and descriptions are original and acute, and the Wanderings contributed to natural history by emphasising the study of wild creatures in their natural habitats rather than as museum specimens. Waterton was also one of the first conservationists building a wall around his property and refusing to allow the wildlife to be killed or disturbed.'