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Michiel van Groesen

Abstract

The De Bry collection of voyages, published in Frankfurt and Oppenheim between 1590 and 1634, has traditionally been regarded as dispensing a Protestant iconography of the New World. But for the analysis of the translated travel accounts in the collection, too long considered of secondary importance to the monumental copper engravings, a fundamentally different interpretation of the editors' objectives is in order. This article studies the Latin and German versions of the narratives, which offer a mosaic of variations disclosing a careful editorial strategy. While the German volumes were aimed at a predominantly Protestant readership, their Latin counterparts were adjusted to meet the demands of Catholic customers and humanists wary of religious polemic. Hence the first comprehensive set of images of early America reached readers across the Old World, regardless of their confessional allegiance. Commercial motives rather than the desire to spread a Protestant iconography determined the collection's representations.

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Michiel van Groesen

This book deals with the De Bry collection of voyages, one of the most monumental publications of Early Modern Europe. It analyzes the textual and iconographic changes the De Bry publishing family made to travel accounts describing Asia, Africa and the New World. It discusses this editorial strategy in the context of the publishing industry around 1600, investigating the biography of the De Brys, the publications of the Frankfurt firm, and the making of the collection, as well as its reception by Iberian inquisitors and seventeenth-century readers across the Old World. The book draws on a wide variety of primary sources, and is hence important for historians, book historians, and art historians interested in the development of Europe's overseas empires.