New essays that illuminate and interpret William Bartram’s journey through what would become the southeastern United States
William Bartram, author of Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulees, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws, was colonial America’s first native born naturalist and artist, and the first author in the modern genre of writers who portrayed nature through personal experience as well as scientific observation. His book, first published in 1791, was based on his journeys through southern Indian nations and Britain’s southern colonies in the years just prior to the American Revolution and provides descriptions of the natural and cultural environments of what would soon become the American South. Scholars and general readers alike have long appreciated Bartram’s lush, vivid prose, his clarity of observation and evident wonder at the landscapes he traversed, and his engagement with the native nations whose lands he traveled through.
The Attention of a Traveller: Essays on William Bartram’s “Travels” and Legacy offers an interdisciplinary assessment of Bartram’s influence and evolving legacy, opening new avenues of research concerning the flora, fauna, and people connected to Bartram and his writings. Featuring 13 essays divided into five sections, contributors to the volume weave together scholarly perspectives from geology, art history, literary criticism, geography, and philosophy, alongside the more traditional Bartram-affiliated disciplines of biology and history. The collection concludes with a comprehensive treatment of the book as a material historical artifact.