As a complement to Mr. Faupel’s study of the de Bry engravings of the “New Found Land of Virginia” in Part I of the Major Voyages, the authors now focus on the principal written source for Part II, which addresses the abortive French attempts to establish a presence in what is now the Southeastern United States. Ms. Lawson has provided a new translation of René de Laudonnière’s L’Histoire notable de la Floride situee es Indes Occidentales. The work was published posthumously in 1586 and Richard Hakluyt’s English version appeared a year later.
Interspersed throughout the text in a logical order are copies of the de Bry engravings after paintings by the artist-cartographer on the spot, Jacque Le Moyne. While much of the material has appeared elsewhere, such as in The New World: The First Pictures of America by Stefan Lorant, Mr. Faupel has provided full annotation, critical and informative appendices, and a geographical correlation with modern placenames in the region. One result of the study is to question de Bry’s objectivity.
It is unfortunate that the copies of the engravings fall short of the excitement of de Bry’s originals, or even the relative richness of those in Lorant’s work. Nevertheless, this book is an essential reference for any who would trace the coming of the Europeans to the increasingly populous American southeast. Few may have realized that the French were living in “Jacksonville” over 400 years ago, even before the Spanish established St. Augustine.
Jon K. Rosenthal, 1994
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