Treasure, Treason and the Tower : El Dorado and the Murder of Sir Walter Raleigh book cover
1st Edition

Treasure, Treason and the Tower
El Dorado and the Murder of Sir Walter Raleigh

ISBN 9781409420255
Published July 28, 2011 by Routledge
338 Pages

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Book Description

In this remarkable book, the oft-told narrative of Sir Walter Raleigh is blown apart through the chance discovery of hitherto neglected Dutch correspondence found in a Swedish archive. Following an exciting paper-trail through Jacobean history to modern-day Venezuela, Professor Sellin makes a convincing case for Raleigh's innocence of the charges that led him to the block in 1618. Spurred on by these documents, Sellin undertook two excursions up the Orinoco river in Raleigh's wake, using Raleigh's 1596 book The Discoverie of Guiana as a guide. These trips convinced him that, far from being a fanciful blend of fact and fiction, the Discoverie is a remarkably accurate and verifiable document, which allowed him to locate Raleigh's gold lode on Cerro Redondo, a short distance inland from present-day Los Castillos, Venezuela. In place of a deceitful and scheming Raleigh, Sellin demonstrates how the Duke of Buckingham manoeuvred to have Raleigh executed on trumped-up charges. This left the way open for him to conspire with foreign powers to try to acquire the very mine he claimed Raleigh had invented to justify his actions against Spanish interests in Venezuela. It is rare for a scholarly book to profoundly shake widely-accepted views of so well-known an historical figure as Sir Walter Raleigh, but that is exactly what Paul Sellin achieves here. Crammed with tales of treasure, treason, murder, and international intrigue, this book make us think afresh of one of the greatest Elizabethan heroes. Written in a relaxed and engaging style, it will be of interest not only to specialists of the period but to anyone with a sense of the romance of history.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Raleigh Chronology; Contrarious epigraphy; Cold case?; Guyana's maydenhead; Delta anabasis; Madre del oro; Eureka!; In pursuit of El Dorado; Closing the circle; 'Glorious design'; Corruption in motion; Appendices; References; Index.

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Paul R. Sellin is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of California at Los Angeles, and oud-hoogleraar, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He has published extensively on northern European Neo-Latin poetic theory; sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Anglo-Dutch Relations; English literature from the age of Shakespeare through Milton, especially John Donne; Dutch literature in the Golden Age; Anglican and Reformed theology; and continental artists, spies, and diplomats from the reign of King James to the Restoration. He has also done translations from Dutch and Latin, the most notable being Daniel Heinsius' De tragoediae constitutione (1643). Current research deals with Lieuwe van Aitzema, Alexandre Morus, and the politics behind the Dutch translation of John Milton's The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.


A Yankee Book Peddler UK Core Title for 2011 'The lure of gold in El Dorado remains potent. Paul Sellin takes us on two exciting journeys up the Orinoco River, one made today, another in the company of Sir Walter Raleigh four centuries ago in search of empires and a fortune. Guided by directions in newly-tapped sources, Professor Sellin leads us with persuasive logic to the site of Raleigh's "gold mine", and he rightly counters the explorer's reputation for dishonesty and embellishment. He argues strongly that the question would now appear to be not "Was there a mine?", but rather, "Could the gold there be commercially exploited?" ' Mark Nicholls, St John's College, University of Cambridge, UK 'Overall, Treasure, Treason and the Tower is a goldmine in itself. The reassessment of Raleigh’s character and travelogue, together with the decoding of forgotten letters, would capture a mass market’s imagination.' Parergon 'Sellin’s book is engaging and incredibly readable. This retired professor’s expertise in languages and literature is evident... Few academics’ research includes trips to the jungle.' The Northern Mariner 'Professor Sellin is a polyglot and a polymath. His erudite and searching book is the result of interplay between hard research and serendipity - they often go together.' Ivan Roots in Transactions of the Devonshire Association 'This book ... is both truly original and important in its argument, and its passion is infectious. ... Ralegh will no doubt remain a controversial figure; still Sellin’s book should make future detractors less confident in discounting his lived experience, or giving him the lie.' Sixteenth Century Journal