Academic journal article Atlantis, revista de la Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos

Towards an English Bibliographical List on the Canary Islands

Academic journal article Atlantis, revista de la Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos

Towards an English Bibliographical List on the Canary Islands

Article excerpt

An examination of the main bibliographies compiled by several specialists on topics such as Travels in Spain or English-Spanish contact throughout history reveals that most of the publications in English concerning the Canary Islands seem to have been ignored. It appears that there is quite a copious_amount of literature on various subjects that remains unknown not only to the general public but also to many scholars. It is our aim to provide a preliminary bibliographical list that may help solve this problem and serve the purpose of making at least some of these works accessible to those interested in the subject.

INTRODUCTION

The Canary Islands have long been the source of an inestimable number of publications which range over a whole variety of subjects. Among these we might include a great deal of travel books, tourist guides, as well as other works with a historical, socio-cultural or even literary and linguistic orientation. We should also mention all sorts of scientific studies, covering various disciplines such as anthropology, astronomy, biology, botany, entomology, geology, ornithology and other fields within zoology, together with numerous researches related to climatic and health issues.

Not surprisingly, many of the titles of these works are in English. The close contact that Canarians have maintained throughout history with a great deal of British traders, seamen, scientists, and with many other travellers who either visited or became permanent or temporary residents might explain the expanding interest arisen in the English-speaking world for this Spanish archipelago, particularly over the last two centuries (cf. Bethencourt Massieu 1956; Castillo 1992-93, 1998; Fajardo Spinola 1977; Fernandez-Armesto et al. 1995; Garcia Perez 1988; Gonzalez Cruz 1995; Herrera Pique 1987; Martin Hernandez 1990; Quintana Navarro 1992a, 1992b).

So far, we have collected a total number of 204 items, which certainly results in a long (though probably incomplete) bibliographical list. However, most of this literature remains unknown not only to the general public but, inconceivably enough, to many scholars whose specialities are either Travels in Spain or English-Spanish contact throughout history. In this paper we examine the main bibliographies compiled by several specialists in these fields, and we find that most English works on the Canary Islands are conspicuous by their absence from these catalogues. As a first step to solve this problem, it is our aim here to provide a preliminary bibliographical list that may serve the purpose of helping to make at least some of all those works accessible.

1. REASONS FOR AN OUTSTANDING ABSENCE

As Garcia Perez (1988: 17) explained, when searching for references to these islands in the many books about English travellers in Spain one is immediately struck by the fact that the Canaries have largely been ignored. Apparently, the islands do not count in this literature, despite the existence of numerous travel accounts published by all kinds of visitors, including members of scientific expeditions. In our opinion, two main reasons might be given as explanations for this strange case of omission. Firstly, some of the publications only deal indirectly with the issues for which the Canaries are widely known, and therefore the names of these islands do not appear in their titles. This is precisely one of the factors that somehow has hampered our task of finding and adding them to a list that we believe can certainly be increased.

Secondly, in many bibliographical compilations, the Canary Islands have not been considered as a part of Spain, let alone Europe. Conversely, many authors have tended to include most of these works in the same section as other studies related to the African continent, including journeys to the West Coast. In fact, after studying the references compiled in classic works like those by Raymond Foulche-Delbosc (1986), Arturo Farinelli (1942, 1944, 1959) or Joss Alberich (1978), we found that they hardly mention any of the bibliographical items that we have included in our list. …

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