Columbus Then and Now: A Life Reexamined

Front Cover
University of Oklahoma Press, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 609 pages
0 Reviews

Who was Christopher Columbus? Discoverer of the New World or murderer of the innocent people whose lands he invaded? Whether viewed as hero or villain, Columbus has achieved near-mythical status in the popular imagination. In this provocative study, Miles H. Davidson explores the myth of Columbus as it is reflected in numerous recent biographies. Measuring these biographies against a vast record of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century sources, Davidson exposes flaws, omissions, and biases in modern accounts.

The author traces the events of Columbus’s life in chronological order, drawing on manuscripts, diaries, private correspondence, court and naval records, and shipping logs to provide a historically credible portrait. He uses sources never before incorporated in a book-length study, most notably the recently discovered Libro copiador (a collection of letters written by Columbus himself) and Columbus’s holographs (over two thousand notes written in the margins of four of his books). Separating fact from fiction, Davidson sheds new light on crucial junctures in Columbus’s life: the original contract given him to seek island in the west, the claimed influence of Marco Polo on Columbus, the supposed sinking of the Santa María, and the role played by Jews in connection with the first voyage.

At once a retelling of Columbus’s life and critique of other versions, Columbus Then and Now will be of value to Columbists, Latin American scholars, and biographers in general.     

Who was Christopher Columbus? Discoverer of the New World or murderer of the innocent people whose lands he invaded? Whether viewed as hero or villain, Columbus has achieved near-mythical status in the popular imagination. In this provocative study, Miles H. Davidson explores the myth of Columbus as it is reflected in numerous recent biographies. Measuring these biographies against a vast record of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century sources, Davidson exposes flaws, omissions, and biases in modern accounts.

The author traces the events of Columbus’s life in chronological order, drawing on manuscripts, diaries, private correspondence, court and naval records, and shipping logs to provide a historically credible portrait. He uses sources never before incorporated in a book-length study, most notably the recently discovered Libro copiador (a collection of letters written by Columbus himself) and Columbus’s holographs (over two thousand notes written in the margins of four of his books). Separating fact from fiction, Davidson sheds new light on crucial junctures in Columbus’s life: the original contract given him to seek island in the west, the claimed influence of Marco Polo on Columbus, the supposed sinking of the Santa María, and the role played by Jews in connection with the first voyage.

At once a retelling of Columbus’s life and critique of other versions, Columbus Then and Now will be of value to Columbists, Latin American scholars, and biographers in general.   

  

What people are saying - Write a review

Columbus then and now: a life reexamined

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Davidson, an independent scholar living in the Dominican Republic, focuses on the historiography of biographies about Columbus published in the United States over the last two decades. His scholarly ... Read full review

Related books

Contents

Caribbean coasts visited by Columbus
2
Background
3
Early Years
16
Early Travels and Marriage
36
Cosmography 62
77
Prior Discovery
97
Years in Spain
113
Iberian towns and cities visited by Columbus
114
The Discovery
223
Occupation Gold and Religion
262
Division of the Spoils
283
The Second Voyage
311
Return to Espanola
335
The Third Voyage
407
The Fourth Voyage
448
Epilogue
467

La Rabida and its environs
121
Preparations for the First Voyage
159
The First Voyage
193
Notes
483
Bibliography
559
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1997)

Miles H. Davidson is an independent scholar living in the Dominican Republic. He is the founder of the Miles H. Davidson Reference Library of Dominican History and compiler of A Columbus Handbook , an annotated catalog of the works contained in his library.

Bibliographic information