UNDER RECONSTRUCTION -- Our new beautifully-designed, fully responsive site will soon be unveiled...

America Magica

When Renaissance Europe Thought it had Conquered Paradise

Jorge Magasich Airola and Marc de Beer, with a Foreword by David Abulafia

America Magica

The myths of the Old World transposed to the New, ‘America Magica’ is an extraordinary tale of exploration and imagination.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9781843312925
July 2007 | 226 Pages | 216 x 135mm / 8.5 x 5.3 | 60+ halftone photographs
PRICE:  £12.99  /  $22.95  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

‘At its best, ‘America Magica’ exhibits one of the most impressive aspects of early 1990s work on Europe’s early modern encounter with the wider world: integrated consideration of ancient and medieval intellectual legacies, early modern cultural constructions, and the practical realities of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century life. […] A handy reference for those perusing European explorers’ journals or geographic treatises and wondering where these odd ideas about griffins, lost cities, and dog-headed men came from.’ —Paul Mapp, College of William & Mary, ‘Journal of World History’

 'This succinct book offers a useful synthesis of information concerning the ways Europeans imagined the new lands and peoples they encountered…the way the material is assembled, and the lucidity with which the authors summarise their sources makes this an engaging and perceptive study. A particular feature pf the book is the inclusion of striking black and white illustrations which pepper its pages, providing a helpful counterpart to the narrative… A well-structured and enjoyable read.' —Claire Jowitt, Nottingham-Trent University

'Offers fascinating insights into the ways in which a rich and complex variety of mythical narratives and images - of earthly paradises, golden cities, women warriors, and strange and wonderful creatures - structured the perceptions of European explorers and settlers of the indigenous peoples and landscapes of the New World.' Susan Castillo, Professor of American Studies, Kings College London

The central characters in this book are the myths born of the European collective imagination about the lands beyond Europe and the beings who inhabited them. The New World was an irresistible attraction to Renaissance Europe and the great geographical discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries represent a unique moment in history, not only on account of the technical and human feat involved but also because the discoverers came to believe that they had reached the land of legends.

This is an enthralling account of the conflicting experiences of discovering the New World, drawing upon the intriguing tales of early discovery and amazing illustrations of the day. The authors invoke the unique exhilaration of exploration, investigating the conflict between the ambitious idealism and harsh realities that have always characterized and torn the country. After all, did people not go to America in search of both the Garden of Eden and the tribes of the damned?

Readership: Will be of major interest to those fascinated by mythology, exploration and early modern European and American History.

Author Information

Jorge Magasich Airola is Professor of Latin American History at the Institut des Hautes Etudes des Communications Sociales (HECS) in Brussels.

Marc de Beer is Professor at the Institut de Radio électricité et de Cinématographie (INRACI) in Brussels.

David Abulafia is Professor of Mediterranean History at the University of Cambridge.

Table of Contents

Foreword by David Abulafia; Preface; Introduction; In Search of the Earthly Paradise; On the Threshold of Paradise; King Solomon’s Mines in America; The Realms of Gold; The Indomitable Amazons; The Legendary Isles of the Ocean Sea; Wondrous Creatures; The Patagonian Giants; Epilogue; Notes; References; Index