Dumont d'Urville : Explorer & Polymath

ISBN: 9781877578700

Author: Edward Duyker    Publisher: Otago University Press

Explorer Jules-Sebastien-Cesar Dumont d'Urville (1790-1842) is sometimes called France's Captain Cook. Born less than a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, he lived through turbulent times. He was an erudite polymath: a maritime explorer fascinated by botany, entomology, ethnography and the diverse languages of the world. As a young ensign he was decorated for his pivotal part in France's acquisition of the famous Venus de Milo.

D'Urville's voyages and writings meshed with an emergent French colonial impulse in the Pacific. In this magnificent biography Edward Duyker reveals that d'Urville had secret orders to search for the site for a potential French penal colony in Australia. He also effectively helped to precipitate pre-emptive British settlement on several parts of the Australian coast. D'Urville visited New Zealand in 1824, 1827 and 1840. This wide-ranging survey examines his scientific contribution, including the plants and animals he collected, and his conceptualisation of the peoples of the Pacific: it was he who first coined the terms Melanesia and Micronesia.

D'Urville helped to confirm the fate of the missing French explorer Laperouse, took Charles X into exile after the Revolution of 1830, and crowned his navigational achievements with two pioneering Antarctic descents.

Edward Duyker has used primary documents that have long been overlooked by other historians. He dispels many myths and errors about this daring explorer of the age of sail and offers his readers grand adventure and surprising drama and pathos.


Pages: 664

Dimensions: 170 x 245 mm

Publication Date: 15-09-2014

Availability Date: 15-09-2014

Tags: Biography   History   New Zealand

$70.00
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