Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Woman's Voyage Round the World

Title page to Voyage Round the World, 1795In 1766, Jeanne Bare disguised herself as a man and joined the the crew of Louis Antoine de Bougainville. Two years later she became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. She left no published account of her voyage, but in 1791, another woman, Mary Ann Parker, joined her husband John Parker, Captain of the Gorgon Man of War, and sailed around the world. After her return, she wrote and published her experiences in A Voyage Round the World (London: John Nichols, 1795) written "for the advantage of a numerous family."

Someday we need to do an exhibit of 18th and 19th century women's travel narratives. They are often so different from their male counterparts. Parker's narrative is full of local color and commentary on the peoples she met with detailed accounts of homes and meals. She gives special attention to the slaves of Cape Town, commenting on their beauty and habits of dress.

Pages 128-129 of Voyage Round the World, 1795
Interestingly, this is the only published account of the voyage, and it adds a small fragment to the history of famed mutiny on the Bounty.  The Gorgon carried eleven of the Bounty mutineers from Cape Town back to Portsmouth where they faced trial.

To see it, ask for Rare G440.P12 1795.

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