First published in 1885, The Purple Land was the first novel of William Henry Hudson, author of Green Mansions. The Anglo-Argentine naturalist distinguished himself both as one of the finest craftsmen of prose in English literature and as a thinker on ecological matters far ahead of his time.
The Purple Land is the exuberant, often wryly comic, first-person account of a young Englishman’s imprudent adventures, set against a background of political strife in nineteenth-century Uruguay. Eloping with an Argentine girl, young Richard Lamb makes an implacable enemy of his teenage bride’s father. Leaving her behind, he goes ignorantly forth into the interior of the country to seek his fortune and is eventually imprisoned and persecuted by the vengeful father. His narrative closes as he sets off on still another impetuous quest.
This facsimile of the 1904 Three Sirens Press edition includes striking woodcuts by Keith Henderson illustrating the characters in the novel and the fauna of Uruguay. Ilan Stavans’s introduction offers an opportunity to revisit The Purple Land as a "road novel" in which an outsider offers reflections on nationality and diasporic identity.