Written in a tropical glow : books, prints, and manuscripts describing the biological exploration of the New World tropics
Dallas : DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, 2018. Quarto, bound in two contrasting green Japanese fabrics, folding frontispiece, pp. 166 plus 32 pages of colour plates, printed letterpress. Limited to 390 copies (40 copies in a deluxe binding were also issued).
A magnificent illustrated monograph being the catalogue for an exhibition of rare travel books at Southern Methodist university.
‘The book is in two parts: the first is a narrative history of the biological exploration of the Neotropics. The second part describes and investigates the books as physical objects. Written in a Tropical Glow is an exemplary piece of bookmaking, designed by Tom Taylor and printed by Bradley Hutchinson in an edition of 390 copies. The format is a generous folio (9 x 12), the paper Mohawk Superfine, printed letterpress in three colors in Summer Stone’s distinguished Cycles typeface. In addition to 166 text pages, there are 32 pages of color illustrations printed at Austin Digital Printing. The binding is from two contrasting Japanese fabrics.’ – the publisher.
“Where were you, what were you doing, on your 23rd birthday? Charles Darwin was crossing the Atlantic, on H.M.S. Beagle, so eager to explore the New World tropics that he declared himself filled with “a tropical glow.” When he arrived, in 1832, he was but the latest in a long line of young naturalists who had come to South America seeking adventure and discovery and such renown as science had to offer. More came soon after. “Written in a Tropical Glow” tells their stories, from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the West Indies to the intrepid English biologist who wandered alone across South America in the 1840s. Between them came botanists and zoologists from Germany, Spain, Holland, France, and Austria, most of them constellated around the remarkable scientist/explorer Alexander von Humboldt.
Their stories are told in books they wrote describing their adventures and discoveries, ranging from modest volumes to impressive folios filled with color plates of the highest quality. These books, along with related prints and manuscripts, will be exhibited at the DeGolyer Library, from September 27 to December 14, 2018. The items exhibited are drawn both from the DeGolyer collections and from the personal collection of the guest curator, Tom Taylor.” – the University website