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Lecture & Signing: Yellowstone, Land of Wonders
Saturday, May 18, 2013
1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903
Meeting Room (3rd Floor)
Yellowstone, Land of Wonders: Promenade in North America's National Park by Jules Leclercq
Translated and edited by Janet Chapple and Suzanne Cane
LECTURE: Stranger in a Strange Land
by Janet Chapple and Suzanne Cane
When Yellowstone, Land of Wonders appeared in French in 1886 few people anywhere knew about geysers, mud pots and hot springs, despite fantastical tales told by early explorers of boiling pitch, lands on fire, fountains of hot water, mountains of glass, and glacial rivers. Yellowstone, Land of Wonders is a scientifically-based travelogue of a trip on horseback through the world’s first National Park in 1883 by the keenly observant and poetically reflective Belgian world traveler Jules Leclercq. He drew on his considerable learning to explain scientific investigation into the geological forces behind the landscape of the Park and its most prominent features; he decried the rampant vandalism by early visitors who broke off souvenirs or carved their names on delicate geyser craters; and he advocated hunting limits to prevent the extermination of game, although at that time the Park’s animals seemed inexhaustible.
A sensation in Europe, the book was never published in English. This deft translation at long last makes available to English-speaking readers a masterpiece of western American travel writing that is a fascinating historical document in its own right.
About the Author and Editors
Jules Leclercq (1848–1928), who wrote twenty-three travelogues, was a judge by profession and a founding member of the Royal Belgian Geographical Society.
Janet Chapple is the author of Yellowstone Treasures: The Traveler’s Companion to the National Park with deep roots in Rhode Island including a stint as a cellist with the RI Philharmonic Orchestra. Suzanne Cane is a librarian, retired from Lincoln School, and independent French translator.
“What a delightful discovery this book is. Jules Leclercq is the kind of writer we love to travel with—enthusiastic, energetic, observant, curious, and companionable. Janet Chapple and Suzanne Cane have produced a splendid translation and well-researched edition.”—Robert Root, author of Postscripts: Retrospections on Time and Place
“This lost jewel by an overlooked but wonderful explorer reads like a Jules Verne novel and is astonishing in its poetic descriptions of the raw nature of Yellowstone in the nineteenth century. A beautiful, evocative work on those early days in the American wilderness, it is like a literary Ansel Adams.” —Peter Schulman, translator, author, and professor at Old Dominion University
A Book sale and signing will take place after the talk.
Parking is available at the Providence Hilton Parking Garage: $3/3 hours. Bring ticket for stamping at the Library.