Francois Peron

An Impetuous Life

Edward Duyker
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Francois Peron

Published

28 June 2016

ISBN

9780522870978

Ebook File Size

10.4MB

Imprint

Miegunyah Press

Francois Peron

An Impetuous Life

Edward Duyker
In 1800 François Péron gained a place as an assistant zoologist on Nicolas Baudin's expedition to Australian waters. He rose rapidly through the expedition's ranks and wrote its official account. In doing so, Péron sought to destroy Baudin's posthumous reputation.

In 1800 François Péron, an ambitious young medical student not long released from the French revolutionary army, gained a place as an assistant zoologist on Nicolas Baudin's expedition to Australian waters. As his colleagues either deserted or died, he would rise rapidly within the expedition's ranks and even write its official account. In doing so, Péron would seek to destroy Baudin's posthumous reputation.

The expedition was famously marked by the vexed relationship between Péron and Baudin, but Péron's work, as a man of science, profoundly enhanced the achievements of the expedition: he seized valuable opportunities to pioneer zoological, oceanographic and ethnographic studies, and as an ecological observer was remarkably prescient.

Edward Duyker's meticulously researched biography of Péron takes readers on an engaging and wide-ranging journey—from the heart of pre-revolutionary rural France, to the bitter fighting on the Rhineland front in 1793-94, to the late eighteenth-century Paris medical school, to landfalls…

In 1800 François Péron, an ambitious young medical student not long released from the French revolutionary army, gained a place as an assistant zoologist on Nicolas Baudin's expedition to Australian waters. As his colleagues either deserted or died, he would rise rapidly within the expedition's ranks and even write its official account. In doing so, Péron would seek to destroy Baudin's posthumous reputation.

The expedition was famously marked by the vexed relationship between Péron and Baudin, but Péron's work, as a man of science, profoundly enhanced the achievements of the expedition: he seized valuable opportunities to pioneer zoological, oceanographic and ethnographic studies, and as an ecological observer was remarkably prescient.

Edward Duyker's meticulously researched biography of Péron takes readers on an engaging and wide-ranging journey—from the heart of pre-revolutionary rural France, to the bitter fighting on the Rhineland front in 1793-94, to the late eighteenth-century Paris medical school, to landfalls in the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, to the little-known shores of Van Diemen's Land and New Holland, and back into the very heart of Napoleon's Empire. This is both a balanced assessment of the difficult relationship between Péron and Baudin, and an analysis of the conduct of science during some of the most turbulent years in French history.

About the author

Edward Duyker

Dr Edward Duyker comes from a family deeply steeped in the sea. He is the author of many books dealing with early Australian coastal exploration, including An Officer of the Blue (1994), Nature's Argonaut (1998), the award-winning Citizen Labillardière (2003) and, most recently, François Péron (2006). In 2000 Dr Duyker was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government. He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003 and the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004.

Image courtesy of Lee Narraway.

About Edward Duyker

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