Structured into a series of letters, Bernardin's survey of Mauritius includes a detailed description of the island's geography, and flora and fauna. Describing the closed nature of colonial society, he also provides a chilling picture of the cruelties of plantation life and slavery. Bernardin's book of 1773 "Voyage a L'Isle de France", is an early example of a walking guide as he details the sights and landscapes of Mauritius. The introduction to this volume sets Bernardin's travel account into its historical context, discussing his life and ideas as well as the hostility the book provoked when first published. It also explores the book's contribution to travel writing and its relevance to modern-day Mauritius.
A friend and disciple of Rousseau, BERNARDIN DE SAINT-PIERRE was a naturalist and influential social critic as well as a successful author. A military engineer by training, he was instrumental in popularizing pastoral fiction with Paul et Virginie. JASON WILSON, Professor of Latin American literature at University College, London, was born in Mauritius and is the author of books on Alexander von Humboldt, Octavio Paz and Buenos Aires (Signal, 1999).
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