BARCA, Madame Calderón de la (1804-1882) [Frances Erskine Inglis]
Life in Mexico during a Residence of Two Years in that Country ...
Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1843. Octavo, 2 vols. (7 13/16 x 4 7/8 inches). xii, 412; [xii], 423 pp. Frontispiece. Foxed and with small marginal tear.
Publisher's purple cloth. Very good.
The first American edition of this remarkable travel narrative.
Fanny Calderón de la Barca (nee Erskine Inglis) was the Scottish wife of the Spanish minister to the U.S., Ángel Calderón de la Barca. In 1839, they moved to Mexico, when he became the Spanish minister to Mexico, where they lived for the next two years, during which Fanny wrote the letters that would turn into this book. This work is notable as being one of the few travel narratives written by a European woman living in Mexico during the early years of Mexican Independence. She discusses a wide range of topics with detailed observations in her letters regarding society, politics, and culture, including information about festivals, churches, bull fighting, gambling, theatre, servants, natural landscape, and more. It is particularly useful as a window into everyday life in Mexico during this time, with its detailed descriptions of Mexican people and terrain, although it is clouded by the author's higher-class status as a European woman with an affiliation to Spain, the colonizing power. "One of the classic writings of 19th century travel, probably the most important record of the social life of the country at that time" (Hill).
Sabin 9888; BAL 16338; Hill 238.