The University of Wisconsin Press

Fiction / South America


The Purple Land
W. H. Hudson
With a new introduction by Ilan Stavans
Illustrated by Keith Henderson

The Americas

"Of living writers that I have read, W. H. Hudson is the rarest spirit." —John Galsworthy, 1915

First published in 1885, The Purple Land  was the first novel of William Henry Hudson, author of Green Mansions. The Anglo-Argentine naturalist distinguished himself both as one of the finest craftsmen of prose in English literature and as a thinker on ecological matters far ahead of his time.

The Purple Land is the exuberant, often wryly comic, first-person account of a young Englishman's imprudent adventures, set against a background of political strife in nineteenth-century Uruguay. Eloping with an Argentine girl, young Richard Lamb makes an implacable enemy of his teenage bride's father. Leaving her behind, he goes ignorantly forth into the interior of the country to seek his fortune and is eventually imprisoned and persecuted by the vengeful father. His narrative closes as he sets off on still another impetuous quest.

This facsimile of the 1904 Three Sirens Press edition includes striking woodcuts by Keith Henderson illustrating the characters in the novel and the fauna of Uruguay. Ilan Stavans's introduction offers an opportunity to revisit The Purple Land as a "road novel" in which an outsider offers reflections on nationality and diasporic identity.

The Americas

W. H. Hudson (1841–1922) was born in Buenos Aires to American parents. He spent his youth in South America before emigrating to England in 1870. His books include the acclaimed novel Green Mansions, The Naturalist in La Plata, Idle Days in Patagonia, Adventures among Birds, A Crystal Age, A Shepherd's Life, Far Away and Long Ago, and A Hind in Richmond Park.

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cover of Hudson's book is purple, with a mist enshrouded view of some hills and the land beyond.

September 2002
304 pp.   6 x 9 1/4
30 woodcuts

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Paper $22.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-18224-3
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