Any good reading? The changing reception of early-modern travel writing
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 15:47 authored by Matthew Day
Although the importance of the two editions of Richard Hakluyt’s Principal(l) Navigations (1589, 1598-1600) has long been recognised, there has been relatively little study of the reception of the work. This article provides an examination over the long durée of the reception of these volumes. It charts their use as providing practical information for travellers, explorers and colonists in the early modern period and as repositories of evidence for colonial claims in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While leisure reading has been an ongoing element of the reception of the works, this seems to have experienced a resurgence following the reissue of the volumes at the start of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Particularly noticeable are the publication of excerpts in an effort to create specific historical narratives and the selections of texts targeted at children in this later period. Overall, the paper demonstrates the richness and breadth of responses to Hakluyt’s publications and the changing emphasis of its appeal.
Publication titleJournal of the Hakluyt Society
- Published version