America in European Consciousness, 1493-1750

Edited by Karen Ordahl Kupperman
Paperback price: $55
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Publisher: Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: OIEAHC
Cloth/Hardcover Publication Date: 02/1995
Pages: 448
Paperback ISBN: 9780807845103
Paperback Publication Date: 02/1995
Ebook ISBN: 9781469600147


The five hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s first transatlantic voyage has provoked an outpouring of scholarship on how European exploration and colonization affected America. This book of eleven essays from leading scholars in the fields of intellectual and cultural history reverses that trend by focusing on the ways in which contact with the Americas transformed European thought.

The result of an international conference sponsored by the John Carter Brown Library, this collection addresses the impact of Spanish, French, and English experiences in the New World. The essays consider whether and how knowledge of America changed the mental world of European thinkers as reflected in their understanding of history, literature, linguistics, religion, and the sciences.

In assessing the process by which Europeans sought to understand America, this volume responds to issues raised by Sir John Elliott nearly a generation ago, and the collection concludes with an essay in which Elliott reflects on the scholarship of the last twenty-five years on this subject. The contributors are David Armitage, Peter Burke, Luca Codignola, J. H. Elliott, Christian Feest, Roland Greene, John M. Headley, Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Henry Lowood, Sabine MacCormack, David Quint, and Richard C. Simmons.

About The Author

Karen Ordahl Kupperman is professor of history at the University of Connecticut. Her books include Providence Island, 1630-1641: The Other Puritan Colony and Captain John Smith: A Select Edition of His Writings.


“An important and very well-edited book, one that can be read with profit by both student and specialist.”–16th Century Journal

“Ranging from cartography to anthropology, from the history of collecting to the history of history, from Petrarch to David Hume, in its scope, in the sheer brilliance of so many of its contributions, America in European Consciousness offers the very best of European and American scholarship on a subject of lasting importance.”–Anthony Pagden

America in European Consciousness gives us a dazzling set of essays by leading scholars from both sides of the Atlantic. Did knowledge about the newly found continent–about its peoples, languages, plants, and animals–change the way Europeans thought about their world? Or did it simply reinforce their existing views and get turned toward European preoccupations? Both processes were at work over the centuries, so we learn from these remarkably researched and handsomely illustrated studies. This book will change our own consciousness of the American and European past.”–Natalie Zemon Davis

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