The AZTEC TREASURE HOUSE: New and Selected Essays
by Evan S. Connell.
Condition: NEW 2001 Counterpoint large hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), first printing. Tiny edge wear to DJ edges. Remainder mark bottom edges.
Content: A collection of new and selected essays by master craftsman Connell. He has long been attracted to the visionary and eccentric, to those people and events slightly outside the mainstream of human experience. His subjects are people of passion and purpose, events of legend and desire. He offers stories of the Anazasi, the "old ones" of the southwestern desert, of the grand explorers Marco Polo, Columbus, Magellan, and Ibn Batuta, of heretics, fanatics, scientists, cranks, and geniuses. There are tales of fabulous advances made in anthropology, archeology, astronomy, and linguistics. This is a book of great "celebrations of man's insatiable drive to probe unknown frontiers [that] read like superb novels," says Grover Sales. "[They] establish Connell as an important writer-poet-thinker with a truly original mind."
The book comprises two previous collections, The White Lantern and A Long Desire, and two new essays never published in trade book form. The whole amounts to a dazzling monument to the career of one of America's finest writers. A few pieces consider historic clashes between "those traditional opponents Science and Religion." Fascinated by people who probe the outer limits of knowledge and geography, Connell provides a blow-by-blow account of the famous debate between Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce over evolution and describes the searing conflict between Galileo and the Catholic Church over heliocentrism. "White Lantern" the best essay of the bunch passionately (even enviously) details the amazing race to the South Pole between pragmatic Norwegian Roald Amundsen and romantic Englishman Captain Robert Scott, in a narrative even Jon Krakauer would admire. Connell sagely points out that "Amundsen, the victor, is not as renowned as the loser," because a dead hero (Scott died on the return trip) is
more likely to captivate the public's imagination. Confessing a hopeless attraction to "buried treasure, monsters, ghosts, derelict ships, inexplicable footprints, and luminous objects streaking through the sky," Connell chronicles journeys of absolute, disastrous futility the searches for Atlantis, the Seven Cities of Gold and the Northwest Passage. These skillfully crafted essays will please any history, science or adventure buff. Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
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