Wanderers and Wonderers

Literary Traditions (A Preliminary Analysis)


STENNESS, Scotland (6 Mar 2007) — The Epic of Gilgamesh, probably the oldest narrative, and exploration narrative, to be preserved in writing, dates to about the time the Ring of Brodgar was constructed 4,000-5,000 years ago.

MECHANICSVILLE, Va.—The tradition of exploration/environmental narratives is in itself ancient—in the West extending back to the Greek world and beyond—but the written record is spotty, with many works lost through neglect, decay, and war; and the texts that did survive were often transcribed by hand over the centuries, with errors introduced along the way. A good record of such narratives exists for the past millennium, however.

Ironically, some of the best of the older accounts come from the ranks of those widely regarded as barbarians throughout Western Europe: the Vikings. While the Norse did their share of destroying libraries in the lands they raided, they preserved a rich literary tradition in the form of sagas that probably arose from an earlier oral tradition. Iceland, an island literally beyond the fringe of Western Europe, proved a fertile ground for the recording and preservation of these sagas.

Given that background, I chose “The Saga of Eric the Red” (1906) as the starting point for my analysis of exploration and environmental narratives. The saga, set in the final years of the first millennium CE, details Erik’s establishment of the first permanent European settlement of Greenland. It also refers to his son, Leif Ericson, and Leif’s attempt to colonize Vinland—which we now know to include Newfoundland (Wallace 2009). It is coupled with “The Vinland History of the Flat Island Book” (1906) which deals in greater detail with the history of the Vinland colony. As geographical references, the details in each are rather sketchy:

… They went aboard their ship again and sailed into a certain sound, which lay between the island and a cape, which jutted out from the land on the north, and they stood in westering past the cape. At ebb-tide there were broad reaches of shallow water there, and they ran their ship aground there, and it was a long distance from the ship to the ocean; yet were they so anxious to go ashore that they could not wait until the tide should rise under their ship, but hastened to the land, where a certain river flows out from a lake (Vinland History 1906, 51).

The paucity of description has kept generations of historians and geographers guessing as to Vinland’s location until the discovery of the L’Anse aux Meadows archaeological site on Cape Norman, the northern extension of Newfoundland. Yet the narratives themselves are compelling, with enough seaborne disaster, war, witchcraft (in “The Saga of Eric the Red”), and romance to hold generations’ of readers (and presumably listeners’) attention.

The next three examples span the end of Middle Ages to the beginning of the Renaissance and Age of Discovery. The first, The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (Benjamin of Tudela 2007), is a slim volume, detailing the twelfth century travels of a Jewish merchant across Mediterranean Europe from Navarre to Constantinople (now Istanbul), and on into the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. The second, The Travels of Marco Polo (Polo 1926), recount the thirteenth century travels of a Venetian merchant from the Levant across Central Asia into the China. After decades of service there in the court of Kublai Khan, Polo set sail around Southeast and South Asia, then across Persia into Asia Minor before returning to Venice. The last, The Travels of Ibn Battutah (Ibn Battutah 2002), summarize the explorations of a Muslim scholar through much of North, East, and West Africa; the Arabian Peninsula; Asia Minor; and Central, South, and East Asia. All are leaps forward in terms of the geographic detail offered:

The wall which surrounds the city of Dihli is unparalleled. The breadth of the wall itself is eleven cubits, and inside it there are rooms where nightwatchmen and keepers of the gates are lodged. The wall also contains stores for provisions, which they call granaries, as well as stores for war equipment and mangonels and stone-throwing machines (Ibn Battutah 2002, 161).

All three likewise have their share of idiosyncracies, such as in Marco Polo’s discussion of the legendary Prester John, a supposedly Christian King who won great victories against barbarian hordes somewhere in the interior of Asia; or in the readiness of the transcriber of The Travels of Ibn Battutah to supplement Ibn Battutah’s memory with details from other accounts of the place visited.

The Age of Discovery began in the fifteenth century. It did not necessarily bring detailed accounts of voyages of exploration. Christopher Columbus was an exception. Perhaps Columbus was thinking ahead to his legacy, but he left quite detailed accounts of his voyages. The journal of his first voyage (Columbus 1906) is a good example. On some days, such as when he was crossing the Sargasso Sea (a part of the Atlantic I know quite well), there was little to report, such as in this entry from Friday, September 28, 1492, “The course was west, and the distance, owing to calms, only 14 leagues in day and night, 13 leagues being counted. They met with little weed[1]; but caught two dorados[2], and more in the other ships” (103). The paucity of description is not surprising to someone like me who has been there. Where warranted, however, Columbus offers a tremendous amount of detail, such as in his description of the island he called San Salvador after his arrival in what he thought was the Indies:

The island is rather large and very flat, with bright green trees, much water, and a very large lake in the centre, without any mountain, and the whole land so green that it is a pleasure to look on it. The people are very docile, and for the longing to possess our things, and not having anything to give in return, they take what they can get, and presently swim away. Still, they give away all they have got, for whatever may be given to them, down to broken bits of crockery and glass (113).

Here we see excellent observational skills, but also see signs of cultural misunderstanding and intolerance that soon began centuries of strife and eradication of many of the indigenous peoples. Columbus’s propensity to pass judgment on native peoples, plus the eagerness with which he claimed their lands for both the Spanish Empire’s as well as his own profit, was emulated by many of the European explorers who followed him to the so-called “New World.”

This is borne out by the selections from the sixteenth century. Europeans moved into the Americas looking for easy wealth. The Spanish focused on gold and gems. The English, French, Dutch, and others focused more on fish, furs, wood, and other resources. All colonial powers claimed the land and resources, brought the Gospel, and vigorously fought to impose civilization on the natives. The de Soto expedition was especially plagued by conflict and plunged into chaos after de Soto died from illness in what is probably southern Arkansas; the “Gentleman of Elvas” account (The Narrative of the Expedition of Hernando de Soto 1907) reads a lot like a bayou horror story as a result. The Pedro de Castañeda (1907) and Antonio de Espejo (1916) narratives offer much more in the way of enthnography and geography. The most overtly scientific writing, however, is in Thomas Hariot’s “A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia,” (2007) although he does have his eye on commodities that could be exploited commercially, such as sassafras, “Sassafras, called by the inhabitants Winauk, a kinde of wood of most pleasant and sweete smel; and of most rare vertues in phisick for the cure of many diseases. It is found by experience to bee farre better and of more uses then the wood which is called Guaiacum, or Lignum vitae” (12).

The seventeenth century brings more of the same, but also something completely different. The description included with John Smith’s Map of Virginia (1907) is one of the best accounts of the geography and ethnography of the Chesapeake Bay Region—in its description of the natural world, the Native Americans, and the growing English colony itself. The buccaneer William Dampier offers incredible descriptions of the lands encountered in his New Voyage round the World (1968). And Henri Joutel’s account of La Salle’s final expedition (1714) adds a new wrinkle to the expedition as disaster narrative—mutiny and murder of the expedition leader. The most innovative work, however, is Matsuo Bashō’s Narrow Road to the Deep North (1966). The work is a mix of memoir and poetry of the travels by Bashō, a student of Zen Buddhism, through Japan. His poetic evocations of landscape are often more powerful that any corresponding—and typically longer—description in prose. When I read, “In the utter darkness / Of a moonless night, / A powerful wind embraces / The ancient cedar trees” (Bashō 1967, 54), I can both feel the wind and smell the cedar. A longer poem reminds me of a nocturnal encounter I once had in the Ozarks of Arkansas:

With a bit of madness in me,

Which is poetry,

I plod along like Chikusai[3]

Among the wails of the wind.

Sleeping on a glass pillow

I hear now and then

The nocturnal bark of a dog

In the passing rain (59).[4]

I do not know whether or not Bashō’s writing is as helpful in conveying an intellectual understanding of the landscapes he described, but it may be more effective in conveying the emotional bonds associated with what a geographer calls “sense of place.”

In the eighteenth century, we begin to see a transition in the type of author typically penning an exploration narrative. Buccaneers were still around—and, in Dampier’s case, were still writing vivid and informative accounts of the places they encountered, such as in this description of crows from the east coast of Brazil in A Voyage to New Holland (2009a):

The carrion-crow and chattering-crows are called here mackeraws, and are like those I described in the West Indies. The bill of the chattering-crow is black, and the upper bill is round, bending downwards like a hawk’s bill, rising up in a ridge almost semicircular, and very sharp, both at the ridge or convexity, and at the point or extremity: the lower bill is flat and shuts even with it. (43)

But the adventurer-driven exploration narratives characteristic of the previous two centuries was giving way to accounts penned by those increasingly professional in both the act of exploring as well as in the act of writing about it. The man who arguably set the model for the modern explorer—seafaring explorer, at least—was Captain James Cook. In three legendary voyages, he charted much of the Pacific Basin, sailed within sight of Antarctica as well as up into the Gulf of Alaska, and trained an influential cadre of British Royal Navy officers that were to contribute to further explorations well into the nineteenth century.[5] In his journals, he notes navigation details, geographic details, and also how he and his crew are affected by what they experience, as can be seen in this entry from August 7, 1774, near the island of Tanna in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu):

In the night the Volcano threw up vast quantities of fire and Smoak, the flames were seen to ascend above the hill between us and it, the night before it did the same and made a noise like that [of] thunder or the blowing up of mines at every eruption which happened every four five Minutes; a heavy shower of rain which fell at this time seem’d to increase it: the wind blew from that quarter and brought such vast quantities of fine Sand or ashes that every thing was covered with it, and was also exceeding troublesome to the eyes (Cook 2003, 383).

Cook set a standard for professionalism that lasts until today. Nevertheless, shadows of the Dampier-style adventurer remained, even among Cook’s crew. John Ledyard, an American from Connecticut, was from the Dampier mold—he abandoned Dartmouth College for a life of wandering, eventually finding his way to England and signing on as a Royal Marine on the crew of the HMS Resolution, one of the ships under Cook’s command on his last—and ultimately fatal voyage.[6] In one passage from his journal of the Cook expedition, he made an astute guess about the processes that formed most Pacific Islands:

It is a fact that every island we visited in the Pacific Ocean is more or less overspread with lava, marked with fissures, excavations and every indication of subterraneous fire: Many of them shew indoubtable proofs that they have partook of some extraordinary struggle in nature sufficient either to place them in their present situation, or to have destroyed them if their original forms had [not] been what they are now (Ledyard 2005, 107).

Thus far, exploration had been driven by the urge to expand empires, to find new opportunities for commerce, and to improve the safety of navigation. More and more, good science was being done on these expeditions, but the science was almost always in the service of some other goal. The trend continued in the nineteenth century. President Thomas dispatched Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (and some other expeditions) to explore the vast Louisiana Territory recently acquired from France (Lewis and Clark 1953). The promise of cheap—or free—land and a new start set off a great westward migration that adventurers like Francis Parkman (1950) were compelled to join.

But science became more of a justification in itself. Gentleman-scientists, such as Alexander von Humboldt, left lives of privilege and luxury in Europe out of a curiosity about the new worlds being opened up through increasing globalization. Humboldt’s work, such as in his Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent (1995), laid much of the groundwork for the modern science of geography. Two young men, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, seeking fame and fortune—or at least a steady job—shook man’s sense of place in the universe with a theory called evolution that both independently stumbled upon in the course of expeditions they undertook (Darwin 2001, Wallace 1989). A Civil War veteran, John Wesley Powell who lost most of an arm in the Battle of Shiloh, set out to explore the geology of one of the most iconic landscapes on Earth, the Grand Canyon (Powell 1987). And the Royal Navy dispatched a ship, the HMS Challenger, on three-year expedition to study the world’s oceans that yielded valuable scientific contributions for nearly a century after it ended (Tizard et al. 1885).

This was arguably the golden age of the expedition narrative, as we had a growing body of professionally trained scientists that were likewise equally grounded in a literary tradition. Their writings often had an eye for detail and sense of narrative that permits them to be enjoyably read as literature, and they often include details now stripped from “scientific” accounts, relegated to the lower league of the late-career personal memoir. Some of it is exciting, as in the excerpt from Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago:

The next afternoon just before dinner, being rather tired with my day’s work, I was lying on the couch with a book in my hand, when, gazing upward, I saw a large mass of something overhead which I had not noticed before. Looking more carefully, I could see yellow and black marks, and though it must be a tortoise-shell put up there out of the way between the ridge-pole and the roof. Continuing to gaze, it suddenly resolved itself into a large snake, compactly coiled up in a kind of knot; and I could detect his head and his bright eyes in the center of the folds. The noise of the evening before had been explained. A python had climbed up one of the posts of the house, and had made his way under the thatch within a yard of my head, and taken up a comfortable position on the roof—and I had slept soundly all night directly under him (Wallace 1989, 303).

For anyone who has been surprised by an animal they are scared of—or, as in my case, for anyone who spent hours in a hotel room in Indonesia tracking down and killing a large cockroach that ran across his body in the middle of the night—this anecdote binds the reader to the author and makes everything else in the narrative, including the science, seem much more concrete and relevant to the reader. Unlike in the sterilized portrayals of science frequently seen on television and screen these days, explorers’ accounts in this era mentioned the annoyance, boredom, and endless drudgery take a toll on those involved on long expeditions. Consider this comment by Henry N. Moseley, a naturalist on the Challenger Expedition, about the tradition of giving cannon salutes as ships entered a foreign port:

On the ship anchoring at Amboina, it was found necessary that a salute should be fired. The “Challenger” being, as a surveying ship, provided with very few guns, was usually excused this ceremony, but it was thought by the Dutch authorities that the natives would not properly understand the arrival of a foreign man-of-war, without the usual honour being paid to the Dutch flag; so two small Armstrong breech-loaders were let off alternately through the bow ports.

The old Dutch saluting guns on the fort seemed to return the unpleasant noisy compliment with some difficulty, and one of them leapt off the parapet into the ditch, in the excitement of unwonted exercise. It is to be hoped, that before long the intolerable nuisance of saluting will be done away with; it is most astonishing that civilized persons can be so much the slaves of habit, as to make a painful noise of this kind when necessity does not require it; everyone concerned dislikes the noise, and there is a great waste of material (Moseley 1879, 387-388).

The official narrative of the expedition (Tizard et al. 1885) did not have space for such observations, but Moseley’s more personal account, while full of scientific observation, includes many such asides—serving as an honest and useful tonic for those who tend to romanticize the nature of scientific exploration.

The nineteenth century also brings about the environmental narrative—a work that does more than merely recount the characteristics of the natural environment as encountered by the writer, but that uses the natural environment as an inspiration for the exploration of more intimate frontiers. Henry David Thoreau’s A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1998) is much more than an account on a trip up a river valley in New England. Walden (1980) is much more than a treatise on life in the woods. Thoreau explores themes such as grief, religion, independence, and then-modern life through the prism of the landscapes he explores. For example, his encounter with a ferryman on a river crossing in New Hampshire inspires a discussion of manners:

There is reason in the distinction of civil and uncivil. The manners are sometimes so rough a rind that we doubt whether they cover any core or sap-wood at all. We sometimes meet uncivil men, children of Amazons, who dwell by mountain paths, and are said to be inhospitable to strangers; whose salutation is as rude as the grasp of their brawny hands, and who deal with men as unceremoniously as they are wont to deal with the elements. They seek out the southern slopes of hills, from which they may look down on the civil plain or ocean, and temper their diet duly with the cereal fruits, consuming less wild meat and acorns, to become like the inhabitants of cities. A true politeness does not result from any hasty and artificial polishing, it is true, but grows naturally in characters of the right grain and quality, through a long fronting of men and events, and rubbing on good and bad fortune (1998, 161).

In the following passage from Walden, Thoreau ponders the benefits of rural solitude and arguably helps lay the foundation for the “Back to the land” movement of the 1960s. He definitely inspires the “nature writers” who follow him in the ensuing century:

… My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp of any heathen deity, nor were they minced into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock … This was sheer idleness to my fellow-townsmen, no doubt; but if the birds and flowers had tried me by their standard, I should not have been found wanting. A man must find his occasions in himself, it is true. The natural day is very calm, and will hardly reprove his indolence.

I had this advantage, at least, in my mode of life, over those who were obliged to look abroad for amusement, to society and the theatre, that my life itself was become my amusement and never ceased to be novel. It was a drama of many scenes and without an end. If we were always, indeed, getting our living, and regulating our lives according to the last and best mode we had learned, we should never be troubled with ennui. Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour (1980, 79-80).

The bifurcation between exploration and environmental narratives continues into the twentieth century. The Heroic Age of Exploration comes to an often dramatic—sometimes fatal—end in the icy wastes of the Earth’s poles (Kirwan 1962). Scientific writing becomes more and more formalized. Moseley’s cattiness gives way to the emotionless, impersonal, spare, “Just the facts” language of a Sgt. Joe Friday. To discover the personalities of the explorers, one must turn to the memoirs, such as Farthest North (Nansen 1999), The Heart of the Antarctic (Shackleton 1999), The Worst Journey in the World, (Cherry-Garrard 1997), and The Home of the Blizzard, (Mawson 1998). Worst Journey in the World is one of the most dramatic accounts of exploration ever written. Apsley Cherry-Garrard is unflinching in his assessment of the futility of a side-journey that he made with Edward “Bill” Wilson and Henry “Birdie” Bowers on Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition. The side journey, to collect eggs of the emperor penguin for embryological and evolutionary research, was horrific in itself:

Birdie always lit the candle in the morning—so called, and this was an historic business. Moisture collected on our matches if you looked at them. Partly I suppose it was bringing them from outside into a comparatively warm tent; partly from putting boxes into pockets in our clothing. Sometimes it was necessary to try four or five boxes before a match struck. The temperature of the boxes and matches was about a hundred degrees of frost, and the smallest touch of the metal on naked flesh caused a frost-bite. If you wore mitts you could scarcely feel anything—especially since the tips of our fingers were already very callous. To get the first light going in the morning was a beastly cold business, made worse by having to make sure that it was at last time to get up. Bill insisted that we must lie in our bags seven hours every night.

In civilization men are taken at their own valuation because there are so many ways of concealment, and there is so little time, perhaps even so little understanding. Not so down South. These two men went through the Winter Journey and lived: later they went through the Polar Journey and died. They were gold, pure, shining, unalloyed. Words cannot express how good their companionship was (Cherry-Garrard 1997, 251).

I have never experienced anything as horrific as Cherry-Garrard describes here, but I have experienced enough that his pain reaches through the decades and grabs me by the throat. His writing, as does that of Nansen, Shackleton, and Mawson, touches me on an emotional as well as intellectual level and fires a longing to experience as well as preserve the deadly landscapes they describe. But twentieth century exploration narratives began to strip themselves of such personal ruminations, appealing to the intellect only and losing their empathic appeal.

The environmental narrative flowered in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, however. Some focus on solely their evocations of a place, leaving the writer out of the narrative entirely, such as in Margery Stoneman Douglas’s account of the Everglades (Douglas 1997), or only including him or her as an incidental character, or in Mike Tidwell’s elegy for coastal Louisiana (Tidwell 2003). Some focus on environmental issues, rather than place, such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (2002) or Carl Safina’s Song for the Blue Ocean (1997). Others are deeply personal accounts, à la Thoreau, of interactions with a particular environment, such as Jacques Yves-Cousteau and Frédéric Dumas’s The Silent World (2004), or particular places, such as Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire (1968) or Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1988). Even fiction begins to feature strong environmental themes, such as the omnipresent signs of degradation in Peter Matthiesen’s Far Tortuga:

On the lee side, in stained shallows, wavelets lift melted labels, floating feces, a pale plastic bottle. In the offal is the bobbing head of a green turtle; its shell and guts scattered on the sand. Another turtle lies upright on the beach, facing inland. Its flippers are bound, and its great weight, unsupported, slowly smothers it. When Raib turns it on its back, it blinks, gasping its ancient sea sound, and sand grains falling from its lids stick in the fluids from its eye (1988, 163).

The environment described by Matthiessen is a far cry from the land Columbus described as “…so green that it is a pleasure to look on it.” Rather, it is a nightmare, an indictment of our disregard in deed for an environment our words praise as paradise.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an almost verbatim copy of the relevant portion of my dissertation proposal, but was adapted to stand alone as an essay.

[1] Sargassum, the floating seaweed for which the Sargasso Sea is named.

[2] Mahi-mahi.

[3] Chikusai is the hero of a Japanese comedy popular at the time Bashō lived.

[4] My encounter was not so romantic. There was wind, there was a dog barking in the night, but there was also a skunk running by my sleeping bag at the time I turned a flashlight on it. It went into firing position immediately, and I, almost as quickly, tossed the flashlight and covered my head and nearly passed out from holding my breath. Luckily, my companions did not have to hold their breath on the way back to Louisiana the next day. I know this is not the kind of mood Bashō intended to evoke, but I cannot help bringing my own baggage to what I read.

[5] Among them was William Bligh, who was a much better navigator than he was a leader.

[6] Cook was killed in a dispute with Hawaiian natives on the shore of Kealakekua Bay on the big island, Hawai’i.


Abbey, Edward. 1968. Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness. New York: Ballantine Books.

Benjamin of Tudela. 2007. The Itinerary of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela. Translated by Marcus Nathan Asher. Gloucester, England: Dodo Press. Original edition, New York: Philipp Feldheim, 1907.

Columbus, Christopher. 1906. “Journal of the First Voyage of Columbus.” Translated by Clements Markham. In The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, 985-1503: The Voyages of the Northmen, edited by Julius E. Olson and Edward Gaylord Bourne, 87-258. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Bashō, Matsuo. 1966. The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches. Translated by Noboyuki Yuaso. New York: Penguin.

Ibn Battutah. 2002. The Travels of Ibn Battutah. Translated by Hamilton A.R. Gibb and Charles Beckingham. Edited by Tim Mackintosh-Smith. London: Picador.

Carson, Rachel. 2002. Silent Spring. Fortieth Anniversary Edition. New York: Mariner.

Cherry-Garrard, Apsley. 1997. The Worst Journey in the World. New York: Caroll & Graf.

Cook, James. 2003. The Journals: Prepared from the Original Manuscripts by J.C. Beaglehole for the Hakluyt Society, 1955-67. Edited by Philip Edwards. London: Penguin.

Cousteau, Jacques-Yves, and Frédéric Dumas. 2004. The Silent World. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Adventure Classics. Original edition, 1953. New York: Harper and Row.

Dampier, William. 1697. A New Voyage Round the World. London: James Knapton.

———. 2009a. A Voyage to New Holland. Illustrated ed. Gloucester, England: Dodo Press.

———. 2009b. A Continuation of a Voyage to New Holland. Illustrated ed. Gloucester, England: Dodo Press.

Darwin, Charles. 2001. The Voyage of the Beagle: Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle Round the World. New York: The Modern Library.

de Castañeda, Pedro. 1907. “The Narrative of the Expedition of Coronado, by Pedro de Castañeda.” Translated by George Parker Winship. In Spanish Explorers in the Southern United States 1528-1543, edited by Frederick W. Hodge, 273-411. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

de Espejo, Antonio. 1916. “Account of the Journey to the Provinces and Settlements of New Mexico, 1583.” In Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706, edited by Herbert Eugene Bolton, 163-195. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Dillard, Annie. 1988. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. New York: Perennial Library.

Douglas, Marjorie Stoneman. 1997. The Everglades: River of Grass. Fiftieth Anniversary Edition. Sarasota, Fla.: Pineapple Press.

Hariot, Thomas. 2007. “A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia,” edited by Paul Royster. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska-Lincoln. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/etas/20/ (accessed 14 January 2011).

Joutel, Henri. 1714. A Journal of the Last Voyage Perform’d by Monsr. de la Sale, to the Gulph of Mexico, to Find Out the Mouth of the Missisipi River. London: A. Bell, B. Lintott, and F. Baker.

Kirwan, L.P. 1962. A History of Polar Exploration. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin.

Ledyard, John. 2005. The Last Voyage of Captain Cook: The Collected Writings of John Ledyard. Edited by James Zug. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Adventure Classics.

Lewis, Meriweather, and William Clark. 1953. The Journals of Lewis and Clark. Edited by Bernard De Voto. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Matthiessen, Peter. 1988. Far Tortuga. New York: Vintage.

Mawson, Douglas. 1998. The Home of the Blizzard: A True Story of Antarctic Survival. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.

Moseley, H. N. 1879. Notes by a Naturalist on the “Challenger”, Being an Account of Various Observations Made during the Voyage of H.M.S. “Challenger” around the World, in the Years 1872-1876, under the Commands of Capt. Sir G. S. Nares and Capt. F. T. Thomson. London: Macmillan and Co.

Nansen, Fridtjof. 1999. Farthest North: The Incredible Three-Year Voyage to the Frozen Latitudes of the North. Edited by Jon Krakauer, Modern Library Exploration. New York: The Modern Library.

“The Narrative of the Expedition of Hernando de Soto, by the Gentleman of Elvas.” Translated by Buckingham Smith. 1907. In Spanish Explorers in the Southern United States 1528-1543, edited by Theodore Hayes Lewis, 127-272. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Parkman, Francis. 1950. The Oregon Trail. New York: The New American Library.

Polo, Marco. 1926. The Travels of Marco Polo. Translated by William Marsden. Edited by Manuel Komroff. New York: Liveright Publishing Co.

Powell, John Wesley. 1987. The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons. New York: Penguin.

Safina, Carl. 1997. Song for the Blue Ocean. New York: Henry Holt and Co.

“The Saga of Eric the Red.” 1906. Translated by Arthur Middleton Reeves. In The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, 985-1503: The Voyages of the Northmen, edited by Julius E. Olson and Edward Gaylord Bourne, 14-44. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Shackleton, Ernest. 1999. The Heart of the Antarctic: Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909. New York: Carroll and Graf.

Smith, John. 1907. “A Map of Virginia: With a Description of the Countrey, the Commodities, People, Government and Religion.” In Narratives of Early Virginia, 1606-1625, edited by Lyon Gardiner Tyler, 75-204. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Thoreau, Henry David. 1980. Walden and Civil Disobedience. New York: The New American Library.

———. 1998. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. New York: Penguin.

Tidwell, Mike. 2003. Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast. New York: Vintage Departures.

Tizard, T.H., H.N. Moseley, J.Y. Buchanan, and John Murray. 1885. Narrative of the Cruise of H.M.S. Challenger, with a General Account of the Scientific Results of the Expedition. Edited by C. Wyville Thomson and John Murray, Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the Years 1873-76 under the Command of Captain George S. Nares, R.N., F.R.S., and the late Captain Frank Tourle Thomson, R.N. London: Longmans.

“The Vinland History of the Flat Island Book.” 1906. Translated by Arthur Middleton Reeves. In The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, 985-1503: The Voyages of the Northmen, edited by Julius E. Olson and Edward Gaylord Bourne, 45-66. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Wallace, Alfred Russel. 1989. The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-utan, and the Bird of Paradise. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

Wallace, Birgitta. 2009. “L’Anse Aux Meadows, Leif Eriksson’s Home in Vinland.” Journal of the North Atlantic no. 2 (sp2):114-125. doi: 10.3721/037.002.s212.

von Humboldt, Alexander. 1995. Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent. Translated by Jason Wilson. Edited by Jason Wilson. New York: Penguin Classics.

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