Dumont d'Urville: Explorer & Polymath

Dumont d'Urville: Explorer & Polymath

by Edward Duyker
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Explorer Jules-Sébastien-César Dumont d'Urville (1790–1842) is sometimes called France's Captain Cook. Born less than a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, he lived through turbulent times. He was an erudite polymath: a maritime explorer fascinated by botany, entomology, ethnography and the diverse languages of the world. As a young ensign he was decorated for his pivotal part in France's acquisition of the famous Vénus de Milo.

D'Urville's voyages and writings meshed with an emergent French colonial impulse in the Pacific. In this magnificent biography Edward Duyker reveals that D'Urville had secret orders to search for the site for a potential French penal colony in Australia. He also effectively helped to precipitate pre-emptive British settlement on several parts of the Australian coast. D'Urville visited New Zealand in 1824, 1827 and 1840. This wide-ranging survey examines his scientific contribution, including the plants and animals he collected, and his conceptualisation of the peoples of the Pacific: it was he who first coined the terms Melanesia and Micronesia.

D'Urville helped to confirm the fate of the missing French explorer Lapérouse, took Charles X into exile after the Revolution of 1830, and crowned his navigational achievements with two pioneering Antarctic descents. Edward Duyker has used primary documents that have long been overlooked by other historians. He dispels many myths and errors about this daring explorer of the age of sail and offers his readers grand adventure and surprising drama and pathos.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780824851392
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, The
Publication date: 03/15/2015
Pages: 664
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Edward Duyker was born in Melbourne to a Dutch father and a Mauritian mother. He received his PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1981 before working as an intelligence officer with the Department of Defence. In 1984 he settled in Sydney as an independent historian, and also served as the honorary consul of the Republic of Mauritius in New South Wales 1996–2002.Edward Duyker has published 17 books, many dealing with early Australian, New Zealand and Pacific exploration and natural science. These include Citizen Labillardière (2003), a biography of the naturalist Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière, which won the NSW Premier’s General History Prize in 2004; and François Péron (2006), which won the Frank Broeze Maritime History Prize in 2007. In 2000 Duyker was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government. He was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Australian government in 2003 and the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004. He is an honorary senior lecturer in the Department of French Studies at the University of Sydney. He is married with two sons and is now a grandfather.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 7

List of maps 10

Introduction 11

Part I '… a sort of reputation' 23

1 Childhood 25

2 The Iycée & the sea 38

3 Adélie 50

4 Aphrodite & the isles 58

5 The Bosphorus & beyond 69

6 Paris & plans 77

7 La Coquille 92

8 The Pacific 102

9 New South Wales 120

10 New Zealand 137

11 Completing the circle 145

Part II '… the progress of geography' 159

12 Command 161

13 Astrolabe 168

14 New Holland 178

15 Return to New Zealand 196

16 Ill winds in Tonga 210

17 Any other captain would probably have hesitated 227

18 Van Diemen's Land 239

19 Vanikoro 248

20 The voyage home 265

21 France & revolution 283

22 Paris & the pen 299

Part III '… towards the polar ice' 313

23 La Juliade 314

24 Astrolabe & Zélée 329

25 To the Antarctic Peninsula 342

26 Return to Chile 359

27 The missionary isles 369

28 Vengeance & pilgrimage 388

29 Guam & the Moluccas 397

30 Northern New Holland 404

31 The augmentation of the Indies 412

32 Hobart 426

33 Terre Adélie 434

34 Return to Hobart 444

35 Rivals in New Zealand 450

36 Homeward bound via Torres Strait 465

37 Toulon & Paris: The final years 475

Epilogue 490

Appendix: D'Urville's library 495

Acknowledgements 504

Notes 511

Glossary of terms, titles & institutions 593

Archival, bibliographic & periodical sources 601

Index 641

What People are Saying About This

R.E. Schreiber

As usual, Duyker (Australian Catholic Univ.) has produced a thoroughly researched, chronological study of his subject. He has also produced an overly detailed, topically fragmented book. For those with patience and an interest in exploration and/or the history of biological sciences, this book is worth reading.

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