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The Admirable Adventures and Strange Fortunes of Master Anthony Knivet


  • 9 b/w illus. 4 maps
  • Page extent: 238 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.47 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 910.4/5 B
  • Dewey version: 23
  • LC Classification: G460 .K5517 2015
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Knivet, Anthony,--active 1591-1649--Travel--Brazil
    • Cavendish, Thomas,--1560-1592--Travel--Brazil
    • America--Discovery and exploration--British--Early works to 1800

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9781107090910)

This is the first critical edition of the original 1625 travel account by Anthony Knivet, an Englishman who spent nine years in Brazil in the last decade of the sixteenth century. His is the oldest extensive account of Brazil written by an Englishman, but despite its historical, geographical, and ethnographic relevance it has never merited an annotated (or even a separate) edition in English. This edition, which includes a detailed introduction and extensive notes, allows the English-speaking public to follow Knivet's compelling tale. The account describes Knivet's incredible adventures, experienced roughly between 1592 and 1601, which include working as a drudge for the governor of Rio de Janeiro, escaping into the hinterland to live with native tribes and joining in expeditions of conquest and gold-seeking. The story provides a unique insight into early colonial Brazil and the myriad of people occupying its territory: Portuguese settlers, mixed-race servants, Indians, slaves, and European travellers.

• The first critical edition in English of Anthony Knivet's original 1625 travel account • Includes a detailed introduction, appendixes, and extensive notes • Sheds light on the relatively unexplored connections between early modern England and colonial Brazil


Introduction; The admirable adventures and strange fortunes of Master Antonie Knivet, which went with Master Thomas Candish in his second voyage to the South Sea, 1591; Appendixes; Selected bibliography; Note on the text.


'The story of Anthony Knivet ranks among the most remarkable travel adventures in the sixteenth century … In Vivien Lessa de Sá's outstanding edition, Knivet's neglected account appears with invaluable critical annotation for the first time, together with a superb introduction that sets the work in historical and ethnographic context. We are in her debt for recovering an important but neglected figure whose experience and observations establish him as worthy of serious attention from students and scholars of Renaissance travel.' Daniel Carey, National University of Ireland, Galway

'Vivien Kogut Lessa de Sá's edition of Anthony Knivet's Admirable Adventures makes a hugely important contribution to travel writing studies in general and to our understanding of sixteenth-century Brazil. Her knowledge of the Brazilian context, based on Portuguese sources, is matched by her original research on the English background and by her nuanced reading of the complexities of Knivet's text. This superb edition will remain authoritative for many decades.' Peter Hulme, University of Essex

'An essential text for understanding colonial Brazil, and early modern travel writing more generally, Knivet's astonishing account is now finally accessible to experts and newcomers in a scholarly edition worthy of the original's importance.' Hal Langfur, author of The Forbidden Lands: Colonial Identity, Frontier Violence, and the Persistence of Brazil's Eastern Indians, 1750–1830

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