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Friday, May 08, 2015

Samuel Purchas and Richard Hakluyt

Title page of Samuel Purchas's magnum opus
Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas his Pilgrimes
London, 1625
source: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
no copyright infringement intended

Samuel Purchas (1577?-1626 - not to be confounded with his homonym contemporary who authored A Theatre of Political Flying-Insects) published several volumes of reports by travelers to foreign countries. He was for many years the vicar of St. Laurence and All Saints, in Eastwood, Essex. The place was by then a prosperous shipping center and a congregational place of seafaring men, and Purchas recorded personal narratives shared with him by the sailors, who returned to England from their voyages. He added these accounts to a vast compilation of unsorted manuscripts, which were left to him by Richard Hakluyt (an English writer who promoted through his works the settlement of North America).

In 1613 he published Purchas His Pilgrimage: or Relations of the World and the Religions observed in all Ages and Places discovered, from the Creation unto this Present. In this work, intended as an overview of the diversity of God's creation from an Anglican world-view, he presented several abbreviated travel stories he would later publish in full. In 1619 he published Purchas his Pilgrim or Microcosmus, or the Historie of Man. Relating the Wonders of his Generation, Vanities in his Degeneration, Necessities of his Regenerations (quite a long title, isn't it?). This was followed in 1625 by his opera magna, Hakluytus Posthumus (or Purchas his Pilgrimes), a massive four-volume collection of travel stories continuing the Principal Navigations, Voyages and Discoveries of the English Nation of Hakluyt.

(info source: wiki, britannica, jstor, bartleby)

You should be maybe curious about my interest for all this, but I can promise you that you'll understand it soon.

(A Life in Books)

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