India perceived through the eyes of sixteenth-century readers Ludovico de Varthema's bestseller on the early modern book markets- a narrative landmark of the emerging positive evaluation of curiositas (Together with a study of Balthasar Sprenger's travelogue on India)

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Abstract

By the turn of the fifteenth century we can observe an imminent paradigm shift in the European perspective toward India. While medieval authors still discussed it in light of mostly mythical concepts, since the early sixteenth century Western travelers reached India and explored it in ever-greater detail and extent. Two major writers, the Bavarian Balthasar Sprenger and the Bolognese Ludovico de Varthema, provided their readers back home with the first critical accounts about India that prove to be highly realistic and observant. Varthema subsequently enjoyed a tremendous success on the early modern book market, as demonstrated by numerous German translations. Significantly, neither Sprenger nor Varthema appear to be determined by an Orientalist attitude and offer rather objective and respectful descriptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalMedievalia et Humanistica
Volume40
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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