Thursday, September 9, 2010
Words of the Big-Footed Giants.
by John MacBeath Watkins
Forgot to include in my previous post one of my favorite titles of all time, Words of the Big-Footed Giants, by Antonio Pigafetta. He accompanied Magellan on his voyage around the world, and was one of the few to survive it. The book in question is his dictionary of the language of the people of Tierra Del Fuego, who by the standards of a 16th century European, were mighty big. Before they met them in person, Magellan's men discovered very large footprints in the sand.
Pigafetta was an Italian scholar who wrote an account of the voyage, parts of which were published in Italian in 1525. The entire manuscript was not published until the late 18th century. And Words of the Big-Footed Giants is little known. I ran into the title while reading Over the Edge of the World, a great account of Magellan's voyage by Lawrence Bergreen. I'm not even sure copies of Words of the Big-Footed Giants still exist, but it certainly belongs in the annals of remarkable titles.