The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness

By Carso, Brian | The Historian, Fall 2013 | Go to article overview

The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness


Carso, Brian, The Historian


The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness. By Clay S. Jenkinson. (Washburn, ND: Dakota Institute Press of the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation; distributed by the University of Oklahoma Press, 2011. Pp. xxxiv, 456. $19.95.)

The internal life of Meriwether Lewis is all the more bewildering because of the central achievement of his external life. Three years after he and William Clark led their Corps of Discovery across the wild continent and back, demonstrating that he did indeed possess what Jefferson called "courage undaunted," Meriwether Lewis killed himself. It is hard for the imagination to cross the divide from the intrepid explorer exuberantly drinking the cold water at the source of the Missouri River to the broken man bedeviled by self-doubt, malaria, and alcohol. With this volume, Clay S. Jenkinson provides an indispensable guide through the tumultuous inner life of Lewis in his later years.

Jenkinson admits to the speculative quicksand that hides around the bushes in such a study. Indeed, when he introduces his thesis with an observation by the nature essayist Barry Lopez that Lewis may have "ventured too far and he was unable to come back," one wonders if the subsequent analysis will support the poetic conjecture (xxiii). What is especially masterful about Jenkinson's study is that it does; the cumulative effect of his many dissections is a compelling framework for understanding Lewis's inner turmoil. This is due in part to the author's careful explication of the expedition journals and subsequent correspondence with Clark, Jefferson, and others. Far from the popular notion that the two cocaptains were nearly interchangeable, this reading of the text demonstrates that Lewis was "high-strung, excitable, romantic, and self-dramatizing," as opposed to "the able, affable, and straightforward William Clark" (45).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.