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Dreamland

Jonathan Lamb: 18th-century seafaring, 20 March 2003

Voyages of Delusion: The Search for the Northwest Passage in the Age of Reason 
by Glyn Williams.
HarperCollins, 467 pp., £8.99, March 2003, 0 00 653213 6
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Voyage to Desolation Island 
by Jean-Paul Kauffmann, translated by Patricia Clancy.
Harvill, 177 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 1 86046 926 4
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... The great Pacific navigations of the mid-18th century were officially failures. Cook managed to map the missing north-eastern section of the coast of a land he claimed for Britain as New South Wales, and he also produced a complete outline of New Zealand – with surprising accuracy, given that he was entirely dependent on lunar observations. But he didn’t find the Great Southern Continent ...

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