Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire

Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire

Felix Driver and Luciana Martins

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226164717

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


The contrast between the temperate and the tropical is one of the most enduring themes in the history of the Western geographical imagination. Caught between the demands of experience and representation, documentation and fantasy, travelers in the tropics have often treated tropical nature as a foil to the temperate, to all that is civilized, modest, and enlightened. This book explores images of the tropical world—maps, paintings, botanical drawings, photographs, diagrams, and texts—produced by European and American travelers over the past three centuries. This book contains eleven chapters—arranged in three sections devoted to voyages, mappings, and sites—that consider the ways that tropical places were encountered, experienced, and represented in visual form. The book covers a wide range of tropical sites in the Pacific, South Asia, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.