By Euclides da Cunha
'The Amazon' good points 8 essays through Euclides da Cunha, approximately his journey throughout the Amazonin in 1905, written to explain the Brazilian hinterlands to the city electorate
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Additional info for The Amazon : land without history
In the light of Walter Bates's rigorous deductions, which corroborate 8 I General Impressions Martius's prior conjecture, what exists under the cover of the forest is a ruin: the decomposed remnants of the land mass that once stretched from the coasts of Belem to the coasts of Macapa. 2 The Amazon could, however, reconstitute it in little time with the 3 million cubic meters of sediment that it bears within it every twentyfour hours. But instead it dissipates that cargo. At the end of its sixthousand-mile course, its turbid current becomes even muddier with earth breaking off from banks that continually collapse, making the shores that run from the Paru to the Araguari recede farther and farther apart.
Their height of barely sixty meters can be climbed in three short minutes. The traveler cannot believe he finds himself at one of the most extraordinary hydrographic borders on the globe: here he can take one step and go from the Amazon Valley to the Ucayali Valley. The height at which he finds himself is at best unimpressive. Indeed, it is insufficient for him to see horizons or make out distances. There is no comprehending it with even the best topographical map. He doubtless will never understand how so indecisive a divortium acquarum can exist in relation to two such massive river arteries, if, in seeking out those distant reaches, penetrating, braving the boulders accumulated along the resculpted channels of the Cujar, the Cavaljani, and the Pucani, he does not dedicate himself to attentive contemplation of the powerful dynamic of the waters and the effect they have in transforming a site previously higher and more dominant.
Beyond that, as a strictly artistic phenomenon—that is, as a place on earth overflowing with images susceptible of being harmoniously fused into an awe-inspiring synthetic sense—it is decidedly inferior to countless other sites in our own country. In this regard, the entire Amazonian region cannot match, for example, the stretch of our coastline that runs from Cabo Frio to Ponta de Munduba. It is, nonetheless, doubtless the greatest sight in the land. That sight, however, is one restricted to the horizontal plane, for, much like the last remnants of an enormous, broken frame, the sandstone Monte Alegre range and the granite mountains of the Guianas now rise so little as to 4 I General Impressions provide but a scant touch of relief on one side.
The Amazon : land without history by Euclides da Cunha