Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan (Volume 2)

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9780486224053: Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan (Volume 2)
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"The ground was entirely new; there were no guide-books or guides; the whole was a virgin soil. At one time we stopped to cut away branches and vines which concealed the face of a monument, and then to dig around and bring to light a fragment, a sculptured corner of which protruded from the earth. I leaned over with breathless anxiety while the Indians worked, and an eye, an ear, a foot, or a hand was disentombed."
Few explorers have had the experience of uncovering a civilization almost entirely unknown to the world. But Stephen's two expeditions to Mexico and Central America in 1839 and 1841 yielded the first solid information on the culture of the Maya Indians. In this work, and in his other masterpiece Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, he tells the story of his travels to some 50 ruined Mayan cities.
In this book, he describes the excitement of exploring the magnificent ruined cities of Copan and Palenque, and his briefer excursions to Quirigua, Patinamit, Utatlan, Gueguetenango, Ocosingo, and Uxmal. For all these cities, his details are so accurate that more recent explorers used the book as a Baedeker to locate ruins forgotten by even the Indians.
In addition to being a great book on archaeological discovery, Stephen's work is also a great travel book. Telling of journeying by mule back on narrow paths over unimaginable deep ravines, through sloughs of mud and jungles of heavy vegetation, describing dangers of robbery, revolution, fever, mosquitoes and more exotic insects, Stephen's narrative remains penetrating and alive. His account of his attempt to buy Copan for $50 is told with the adroitness of a Mark Twain, and his descriptions of Indian life — primitive villages a few miles from the ruins, burials, treatment of the sick, customs, amusements, etc. — never lose their interest.
Frederick Catherwood's illustrations virtually double the appeal of the book. Highly exact, remarkably realistic drawings show overall views, ground plans of the cities, elevations of palaces and temples, free-standing sculpture, carved hieroglyphics, stucco bas-reliefs, small clay figures, and interior details.

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Book Description:

John Lloyd Stephens (1805-1852) was an American politician who is renowned for his pioneering research into the ancient Maya civilisation. First published in 1841, this book describes the ancient Mayan sites he visited in 1839 and 1840. Volume 2 contains his descriptions of Palenque, Uxmal and other Mayan sites.

From Library Journal:

Stephens's book, first published in two volumes in 1841, has been abridged by Karl Ackerman, a freelance writer. Stephens made his journey in 1839-40, accompanied by an artist, Frederick Catherwood, who made detailed drawings of the Mayan ruins. The book was extremely popular upon publication; it remains an exciting 19th-century travel work and one of the early descriptions--and an incisive one--of the Mayan ruins. Ackerman's abridgment makes a handsome volume, but the continuity is not smooth, and the work could do with more explanatory footnotes. There are no contemporary photographs, of course, but later ones by Edward Muybridge and others are used, including some of Tikal, which Stephens did not visit. The book is useful but will not replace the original work or subsequent reprints with Catherwood's drawings.
- George M. Jenks, Bucknell Univ., Lewisburg, Pa.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780486224046: Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, Volume I (Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas & Yucatan)

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ISBN 10:  048622404X ISBN 13:  9780486224046
Publisher: Dover Publications, 1969
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9781560982104: Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan

Smiths..., 1993
Hardcover

9781560982890: Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan

Smiths..., 1993
Softcover

9781108017299: Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan (Cambridge Library Collection - Archaeology)

Cambri..., 2010
Softcover

9781295995912: Incidents of travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan - Scholar's Choice Edition

Schola..., 2015
Softcover

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