Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Felix Driver and Luciana Martins

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226164717

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226164700.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

“The Struggle for Luxuriance”: William Burchell Collects Tropical Nature

“The Struggle for Luxuriance”: William Burchell Collects Tropical Nature

Chapter:
(p.59) 4 “The Struggle for Luxuriance”: William Burchell Collects Tropical Nature
Source:
Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire
Author(s):

Luciana Martins

Felix Driver

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226164700.003.0004

This chapter focuses on Burchell's attempt to capture the pattern of a tropical nature—not only in his collections of natural objects such as plants and animals but also in his creation of proxy specimens in the form of precise calibrated drawings. For Burchell, as for Humboldt, the art of visual representation—the depiction of nature's forms—was a vital tool of scientific description. The chapter is concerned with the practices of naturalists and collectors in the field on particular sites. The focus here is on the ways in which images of tropical nature may reflect or translate the experience of collecting and its disappointments as well as its successes. It is based on the account of William Burchell's travels in Brazil and his graphic depictions of the forms of tropical nature. While ostensibly a more independent traveler with access to a variety of resources to sustain him in the course of his journeys as well as on his return, Burchell too was far from in control of his own collections. The focus in this chapter is especially on Burchell's cultivation of a new sensibility, that of the philosophical naturalist, specifically through the art of drawing. For Burchell, as for Humboldt, the art of visual representation—especially the depiction of landscape—was a vital tool of scientific description.

Keywords:   tropical landscape, naturalist, resources, independent traveler

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.