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Pavie in the Borderlands

The Journey of Theodore Pavie to Louisiana and Texas in 1829-1830, Including Portions of His "Souvenirs atlantiques"

by Betje Black Klier

280 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 12 halftones

Southern History

  Paperback / 9780807125304 / November 2000

Pavie in the Borderlands describes the cultural forces that shaped the trans-Mississippi West between 1765 and 1838 by focusing on the extraordinary Pavie family. From their settlement on the Louisiana frontier, three generations of Pavies witnessed the creation of the U.S. and its territorial expansion through the Louisiana Purchase. Betje Black Klier relates the experiences of the Pavies through the adventures of their kinsman Thèodore, an enterprising eighteen-year-old who left provincial France to visit Louisiana and Texas in 1829 and 1830. Thèodore kept a journal and published his exploits in a volume entitledSouvenirs atlantiques.

In the first of its two parts, Pavie in the Borderlands provides the story of the family’s early experiences in North America; a biographical study of Thèodore; translations of some of his colorful letters from the borderlands; and an analysis of how his travels transformed him. The second part of the volume presents the first English translation of a substantial portion of Thèodore’s journal, including reproductions of his sketches of Louisiana and Texas environs.

Klier unveils the young scholar and artist as the most significant nineteenth-century travel writer to journey west of the Mississippi. By intertwining Louisiana and Texas history with French history, Pavie in the Borderlands provides important new insights on the region’s environmental, social, economic, cultural, and intellectual history. 

Betje Black Klier is the editor of Tales of the Sabine Borderlands: Early Louisiana and Texas Literature by Thčodore Pavie. She lives in Austin.

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