The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Book Reviews
The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca. Edited and translated by Rolena Adorno and
Patrick Charles Pautz. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003. Pp. vi+
204. Maps, illustration, table, appendix, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-8032-
1528-2, $45.00 cloth; ISBN o-8032-6416-X, $15.95, paper.)
We Came Naked and Barefoot: The Journey of Cabeza de Vaca Across North America. By
Alex D. Krieger. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003. Pp. xvii+318.
Foreword, preface, maps, illustration, table, afterword, appendices, refer-
ences, index. ISBN 0-292-74350-5, $39.95, cloth.)
In the past fifteen years students and general readers have had access to a
handful of accessible translations of Cabeza de Vaca's extraordinary account of
his wanderings in Florida, Texas, and northern Mexico from 1528 to 1536. All
of these previous versions have now been surpassed by Rolena Adorno and
Patrick Charles Pautz's superb new book, The Narratzve of Cabeza de Vaca, which
makes available in an inexpensive format the translation first presented in their
award-winning, three-volume Alvar Nziiez Cabeza de Vaca: His Account, His Life,
and the Expedition of Pdnfilo de Narvaiz (University of Nebraska Press, 1999). The
Narrative should become the new standard because of its elegance, precision,
and fidelity to the tone of the original Spanish, and because of its authoritative
cross-referencing between the three extant versions of the story. Cabeza de Vaca
published two versions of his Relacidn. The first appeared in 1542, reproducing
the seamless account he had originally written for Charles V. The second, which
incorporated slight changes and divided the originally unbroken text into chap-
ters, appeared in 1555 paired with an account of Cabeza de Vaca's governorship
of Rio de la Plata. The great chronicler Gonzalo Fernando de Oviedo y Vald6s
wrote another version during the 1540s using the now lost "joint report" submit-
ted to the viceroy of New Spain by Cabeza de Vaca and his companions shortly
after they arrived in Mexico-Tenochtitlin in 1536. Adorno and Pautz's transla-
tion is of the original 1542 Relacz6n, yet they alert readers to differing details and
emphases in the other two versions. The annotated translation is preceded by a
wonderfully lucid introduction exploring Cabeza de Vaca's Mediterranean and
Atlantic contexts, the narrative complexities of the text and the problem of its
referentiality, the process of recording the different accounts, and the course of
historical interest in the story up to the present. The introduction helps readers
of all backgrounds navigate a story line that is sometimes confusing, and can also
serve students as a short primer on critical textual analysis.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 31, 2016.

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