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Sojourners in a Strange LandJesuits and Their Scientific Missions in Late Imperial China$
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Florence C. Hsia

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226355597

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226355610.001.0001

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Reading Jesuit Voyages

Reading Jesuit Voyages

(p.77) Chapter Five Reading Jesuit Voyages
Sojourners in a Strange Land
University of Chicago Press

Of the various audiences that the Voyage de Siam was meant to please, the book's royal dedicatee, at least, seems to have been well satisfied with its account of his newly commissioned mathématiciens du roi. Within a few months of its publication, a second cohort departed France under Guy Tachard's leadership. The opening pages of the Second voyage du pere Tachard et des jesuïtes envoyés par le roy, au royaume de Siam (1689) read like a reprise of the preparations for the 1685 expedition. Fourteen Jesuits were summoned to Paris, there to confer with members of the Académie des sciences in order to “render themselves more capable of making good observations.” For a sense of how differential distribution of the Académie's printed voyages affected responses to the Voyage de Siam, this chapter considers Christiaan Huygens's and Edmond Halley's respective reactions to the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope as concluded by Tachard and his confreres. Reader response to Tachard's publication was primarily mediated by the literary genre to which it so obviously belonged: the early modern European travelogue.

Keywords:   Voyage de Siam, France, Guy Tachard, Jesuits, Académie des sciences, voyages, travelogue, Christiaan Huygens, Edmond Halley, expedition

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