"Brings alive the culturally rich prose of Spain’s first royal eyewitness historian, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo. Misfortunes and Shipwrecks offers English-speaking readers a fascinating glimpse into the complex, often disastrous, Spanish Imperial expansion into the Americas."--Kathleen Ann Myers, Indiana University
"A ‘hidden’ value of the text is in finding slavery, servitude, and ‘mixed company’ around the edges of an otherwise masculine European story."--Kris Lane, College of William & Mary
"A masterful translation of one of the most entertaining and vibrant chapters of Oviedo’s chronicle."--J. Michael Francis, University of North Florida
These dramatic tales of seafaring and shipwrecks have been translated into English for the first time from Oviedo’s sixteenth-century reports on the perils and disasters experienced by travelers to and from the New World. These narratives contain important information about colonial navigation, meteorology, geography, shipping, trade routes, and sociology.
Oviedo’s goal in writing about these events was not only to share these captivating stories with others but also "so that men may know the many perils that accompany sea travel."
Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo (1478-1557) was a historian and author of the monumental fifty-book General and Natural History of the Indies, the single most important sixteenth-century source on the early Spanish presence in the New World. Glen F. Dille, emeritus professor of Spanish literature at Bradley University, is the author of Antonio Enríquez Gómez, and the translator and editor of one previous volume of Oviedo’s work, Writing from the Edge of the World.
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"Through Oviedo, the reader appreciates the bravery of early modern travellers and seafarers as well as the importance of having sustaining religious faith to confront the hazards of life at sea and in the New World. Thanks to Dille, English readers now have a very readable translation, helpful notes, an index, and bibliography. The accounts Dille has translated have value as harrowing tales which readers will find compelling: such stories of adventure, ingenuity and tragedy have a timeless quality. However, they also offer a wonderful window into the empire in the early days of the Spanish presence in the Caribbean." International Journal of Maritime History
"An excellent history of the colonial Caribbean and Oviedo's place in it." … "The translation is extremely readable and appears, at least from this reviewer's perspective, to be an honest rendering of Oviedo's 'varied and convoluted prose.'" … "Interesting and entertaining to read and should appeal to Spanish colonial historians, archaeologists, or those that just enjoy a ripping yarn of adventure on the high seas." Hispanic American Historical Review