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Alexander Scott: Constructing a Legitimate Geography of the Sahara from a Captivity Narrative, 1821

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2016

Abstract:

Alexander Scott’s narrative of his captivity in the Sahara in the early nineteenth century presents a curious example of how information of foreign lands was received and legitimized in Britain. Through the input of individuals such as Joseph Banks and James Rennell, Scott’s tale was presented as an authoritative account of the inaccessible West African interior. This article pursues this process of authentication and demonstrates how elements of the editors” preconceived notion of the region colored the subsequent text and associated cartography.

Résumé:

Le récit de la captivité d’Alexander Scott dans le Sahara au début du XIXe siècle constitue un exemple curieux sur la réception et la légitimation en Grande Bretagne d’informations portant sur des contrées lointaines. Grâce au rôle joué par des individus tels que Joseph Banks et James Rennell, l’histoire de Scott fut présentée comme un récit faisant autorité sur l’intérieur des territoires inaccessibles d’Afrique de l’ouest. Cet article poursuit ce processus d’authentification et démontre comment les notions préconçues des éditeurs sur la région eurent une large influence sur le texte et les cartes de Scott.

Type
Critical Source Analysis of European Travelers’ Sources
Copyright
Copyright © African Studies Association 2016 

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