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Myths and Realities


Edited By Fernanda Peñaloza, Jason Wilson and Claudio Canaparo

This volume includes a selection of the papers given during the international conference «Patagonia: Myths and Realities», which was organised through the Centre of Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester. The essays gathered in this collection are not a direct record of the proceedings but pursue many of the themes raised by the participants. The contributors to the volume come from the fields of history, literary studies and cultural studies. From among the many sources that explore the representation of Patagonia, they have chosen to discuss a wide range of texts, dating from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century, including travelogues, diaries, maps, novels, autobiographies, letters and even a dictionary. The essays trace different experiences in order to illustrate the diversity of the region.
This book makes a significant contribution to the study of the historical circumstances around the exploration and colonisation of Patagonia, as well as the subsequent cultural, political and economic outcomes.


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Jason Wilson - Silence and Meaning in Some Patagonian Travels: Darwin, Hudson, Moreno and Meyer 175


Jason Wilson Silence and Meaning in Some Patagonian Travels: Darwin, Hudson, Moreno and Meyer There is not much to say about Patagonia. One doesn’t go to listen to the sound of the wind in the thorn bushes just for the sake of the odd anecdote ... Besides, no one ever stops to listen or really tries to understand. — Claudio Magris1 From the distance of, say, London, Patagonia is first of all verbal, a written account by a local or foreign traveller. The latest to make this point is Vanni Blengino with what he calls a “solidaridad entre los viajeros, una cadena ideal en la que el último recoge el botín de conocimientos acumulados por todos los que lo han precedido”; that is, you read your way into Patagonia.2 The very word “Patagonia” evokes a textual density of historical discourses with Charles Darwin at the core, yet as Francisco P. Moreno complained in his time, with a scarcity of local Argentine chroniclers.3 As Maristella Svampa recently said in an interview in Página 12: “El centro de la Patagonia es lo que escribió Darwin, ese desierto implacable” (Lerman “Pasajera”). You do not need to have read Darwin to define Patagonia as a desert, which is after all the conventional way of defining it. However, her use of the word “desierto” has little to do with the nineteenth-century Argentine meaning, 1 A Different Sea. Trans. M. S. Spurr. Harvill: London, 1993. 26. 2 Vanni Blengino, La zanja de la Patqgonia. Los nuevos...

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