Mundaú, Brazil

When a man is exposed to different modes of life, his sense of understanding and sympathy is correspondingly activated.  Preconceptions and prejudices begin to recede into the mist, and steps are made, perhaps still hesitatingly, towards a feeling of human commonalities.  And things that may once have seemed to be so important in our own lives take on a much more diminished aspect.

Continue reading

Carl Friedrich Philip Von Martius’s Daring Explorations In Brazil

Men undertake explorations and great journeys for many reasons.  Some expeditions–such as those undertaken by Denham, Burton, Burckhardt, and others like them–are primarily focused on expanding geographical knowledge, commercial information, and ethnographic data.  Others, such as those of Humboldt, Rondon, Lewis and Clark, and von Barth, are more interested in the collection of scientific information about the natural world.  The Brazilian explorations of Carl Friedrich von Martius falls into the latter category.

Continue reading

The Life Of Father António Vieira

One of the most compelling figures of Portuguese history–and surely one of the greatest practitioners of its prose–was Father António Vieira, a Jesuit missionary, orator, statesman, writer, and mystic.  His career illustrates that stimulating mixture of conservative and progressive thinking that would come to characterize the Jesuit order throughout much of its history.  He was born in Lisbon in 1608 and moved to Brazil (what is now the state of Bahia) in 1614 when his father received an appointment for a government post there.

Continue reading