Sederi 30 — 2020
María José Mora
Sonia Villegas López, “Truth and Wonder in Richard Head’s Geographical Fictions.” SEDERI 30 (2020): 117–37.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34136/sederi.2020.6 Download PDF
In line with the method prescribed by members of the Royal Society for natural history and travel writing, Richard Head explored the limits of verisimilitude associated with geographical discourse in his three fictions The Floating Island (1673), The Western Wonder (1674) and O-Brazile (1675). In them he argues in favor of the existence of the mysterious Brazile island and uses the factual discourse of the travel diarist to present a semi-mythical place whose very notion stretches the limits of believability. In line with recent critical interpretations of late seventeenth-century fiction as deceptive, and setting the reading of Head’s narrations in connection with other types of travel writing, I argue that Head’s fictions are a means of testing the readers’ gullibility at a time when the status of prose, both fictional and non-fictional, is subject to debate.
Keywords: Richard Head; Brazile island; truth and wonder; deception in fiction
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