Title: Peter Parley-er Akhyayika, Pratham Bhag [The Tales of Peter Parley, Part I]
Author: Translated by Lalgopal Goswami, teacher, Hare School. [Samuel Goodrich]
Publisher: Not mentioned
Printer: Printed at the Somprakash Jantra, Bhawanipore.
Date & edition: 1st December 1876
Price: 5 annas
About the book:
A translation of Peter Parley’s Tales about Europe (Boston, Published by Carter & Hendee, and Gray & Bowen, 1830), the book contains brief descriptions of the European countries and the customs of their inhabitants. 'Peter Parley' was a pseudonym used by the celebrated nineteenth century New England author Samuel Goodrich. He became hugely popular for his instructional books for children (beginning with The Tales of Peter Parley about America, 1827) that typically combined topics from History, Geography, Science, biography and fiction. The name ‘Peter Parley’ as well as his publications were widely pirated and imitated in Britain. The terms ‘Peter Parley’ and ‘Felix Summerley’ (pen name of Sir Henry Cole, author of Home Treasury) later came to represent a debate between opposing trends in juvenile literature – the former seen as being essentially utilitarian and didactically informative, the other as imaginative and fanciful.
The foreword introduces Peter Parley to the Bengali readers. Parley, the translator says, was a celebrated traveller who apart from touring his native land America, had widely traversed parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. He lived in the city of Boston where his home had been a regular haunt of little children whom he used to entertain with his wonderful tales.
Beginning with “My name is Peter Parley” the book reads like a travel narrative being told to a surrounding audience. Parley introduces himself as an aged man with a broken leg. Nevertheless, he has travelled all over the world and amassed a lot of experience. Children, eager to hear his yarns, often gather around him. This time he begins to tell of his travels in Europe. The accounts of Germany, England, Lapland, Prussia, Switzerland, France, Italy and Spain are interspersed with numerous anecdotes related to Parley’s journeys and are punctuated by histories that need to be told in the context.
Illustrations: None, except for a somewhat crude line drawing at the end of the introduction.
Note: The translation, the author states, is dedicated to his friends Rishibara Mukherjee and Nanda Lal Haldar “as a mark of congratulation for their success in England”.
Genre: Travel literature. Translation.
Source: The Chaitanya Library.
Shelfmark: E 50
1. Title Page
References consulted for this entry
Carpenter, Humphrey and Mari Prichard. The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature.
Hunt, Peter and Sheila G. Bannister Ray. International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature.