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Viagem ao interior da Nova Hollanda, obra moral, critica e recreativa
Lisbon: Vicente Jorge de Castro, 1841. Three volumes bound in one, small octavo; some wear to the edges of the boards and a library reference at head of spine, a few spots but an attractive copy in contemporary quarter calf. Portuguese public servant's imaginary voyage to the interior. A rare Portuguese imaginary voyage to Australia, not recorded by most of the commentators on the genre. In Viagem ao interior da Nòva Hollanda the anonymous Portuguese narrator, tired of the 'pernicioso contágio da imoralidade' (pernicious contagion of immorality) which is afflicting his homeland, travels from Liverpool to New South Wales in 1836 as manservant to a lord. He spends several years in the colony, and travels extensively in the interior. Fulsome descriptions of the social life of Sydney and the beauties of Australia are used, particularly in the description of the utopian 'Vale da Razão' (Valley of Reason). The society, which is somewhere between a 'pure' and 'representative' monarchy, is ruled by a Grand Council, half of the members of which are elected by householders of both sexes regardless of class, and the other half by the monarch. Ferguson comments on the narrator's hope that 'this new nation will be forever free from the vices of the old world'. Aguiar makes the point that his choice of Australia for the setting of his utopia is entirely arbitrary. He admits to no knowledge of the region he has chosen, and in his prologue, unlike the more conventional utopias, he takes pains to explain that he has no wish to fool the reader into believing that such a journey ever actually took place. Little is known of Vasco José de Aguiar (died October 1855) except that he was secretary of the Conselho de Saude Publica do Reino (Public Health Board) in Lisbon. In his spare time he was the author of two utopian narratives, Viagem ao interior da Nòva Hollanda (below) and Verdades Sonhadas (True Dreams), the latter being a collection of short tales, one of which is a grim satire on human folly and moral corruption in the form of an interplanetary voyage.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-07-29           Check availability:      Biblio    

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