482 pages, no illustrations
Anne Troelstra's fine bibliography is an outstanding and ground-breaking work. He has provided the academic world with a long-needed bibliographical record of human endeavour in the field of the natural sciences.
The travel narratives listed here encompass all aspects of the natural world in every part of the globe, but are especially concerned with its fauna, flora and fossil remains. Such eyewitness accounts have always fascinated their readers, but they were never written solely for entertainment: fragmentary though they often are, these narratives of travel and exploration are of immense importance for our scientific understanding of life on earth, providing us with a window on an ever changing, and often vanishing, natural world. Without such records of the past we could not track, document or understand the significance of changes that are so important for the study of zoogeography.
With Bibliography of Natural History Travel Narratives Troelstra gives us a superb overview of natural history travel narratives. The well over four thousand detailed entries, ranging over four centuries and all major western European languages, are drawn from a wide range of sources and include both printed books and periodical contributions. While no subject bibliography by a single author can attain absolute completeness, Troelstra's work is comprehensive to a truly remarkable degree.
The entries are arranged alphabetically by author and chronologically, by the year of first publication, under the author's name. A brief biography, with the scope and range of their work, is given for each author; every title is set in context, the contents – including illustrations – are described and all known editions and translations are cited. In addition, there is a geographical index that cross refers between authors and the regions visited, and a full list of the bibliographical and biographical sources used in compiling the bibliography.
"Troelstra's Bibliography of Natural History Travel Narratives is an impressive source of information on virtually all natural history travel narratives with their editions and translations ever written and published. It is truly encyclopedic in listing bibliographic details mostly of book-length monographs as completely as possible, but Troelstra goes far deeper by providing short biographies and travel summaries for each work mentioned. Historical travel reports are often widely scattered and have often been published in only small editions, which hampers historical research on the geographic exploration of the world. A complete compendium of all natural history travel narratives was painfully missing, and it is due to Troelstra to close this gap. Troelstra has provided something really special: He has produced a complete and thorough bibliography, but also a book, whose short biographies and travel summaries are delightful reading."
– Michael Ohl – Researcher and curator of the Berlin Natural History Museum, Germany
"The breadth and depth of Anne Troelstra's knowledge of natural history expeditions – from travel accounts to ethnography, flora and fauna – is finally made available in this valuable reference work."
– Trienke van der Spek – Chief curator Scientific Collections and Library of Teylers Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands
"As far as I am aware this is the only bibliography of its kind. And it's a stupendous piece of work."
– Redmond O'Hanlon
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Anne S. Troelstra is emeritus professor at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Besides his work as a professor he writes books with natural history travel narratives. Since 2008 he is a visiting scholar at the Artis Library (University of Amsterdam), where he specialises in natural history travel narratives.