Chapter

Columbus the Haunted: The Diary of the First Voyage and William Carlos Williams's “The Discovery of the Indies”

Adam Lifshey

in Specters of Conquest

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232383
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241187 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823232383.003.0002

Series: American Literatures Initiative

Columbus the Haunted: The Diary of the First Voyage and William Carlos Williams's “The Discovery of the Indies”

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Since the nineteenth century the diary has been the most widely read and referenced account of the events of the 1492–93 crossing. It has been canonized despite the issues of unreliability that result in part from the changes introduced by its editor from early colonial times, the Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas. The version by de las Casas, produced some four decades or more after Columbus wrote the original diary, is the basis of all modern editions. The manuscript by Columbus and a contemporary copy did not survive into posterity. The de las Casas document itself was lost until the end of the eighteenth century and remained unpublished until 1825. It alternates between Columbus's first-person narrative in allegedly verbatim citations and de las Casas's third- person paraphrasings of the explorer's entries.

Keywords: diary; Bartolomé de las Casas; Columbus; 1492; Indies; discovery; William Carlos Williams

Chapter.  8263 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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