In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
Introduced by The Folio Society
In Patagonia is something unusual and unorthodox in travel writing: it combines sharp and lightly written vignettes with an elegant literary style, all the while evolving into a fascinating exploration of wandering and exile.
First published in 1977, it made Bruce Chatwin an overnight star and set the tone for travel writing for the rest of the 20th century. This new edition from The Folio Society includes 22 of his atmospheric photographs, including 9 previously unpublished, sourced from the Chatwin Archive at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
As a child, Chatwin was fascinated by a curio in his grandmother’s china cabinet – a piece of ‘brontosaurus’ hide, brought home by a relative at the end of the 19th century. The alleged dinosaur (which turned out to be a giant sloth) had been found sticking out of the ice in Patagonia, and it sparked his lifelong fascination with the place. In 1974 he abandoned his career at The Sunday Times and, as he put it, ‘ran away to South America’.
Located at the southern end of South America, Patagonia is a cold, windswept land of mountains, deserts and grasslands. It is the end of the inhabited world, ‘the farthest place to which man has walked from his place of origins’, and for years has been a magnet for dreamers, fugitives and loners. From Welsh farmers to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Bruce Chatwin tells their stories in 97 snapshot chapters.
This Folio Society edition of In Patagonia is Quarter-bound in cloth with Covera Flute paper sides and set in Iowan Old Style. 264 pages. Frontispiece and 16 pages of photographs 8¾” x 5½”.
Cover of the first edition, published in 1977 by Jonathan Cape