The Purple Land Essay - Critical Essays

W. H. Hudson

Critical Evaluation

Curiously, William Henry Hudson is not as famous for the two books (THE PURPLE LAND THAT ENGLAND LOST and FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO) that he wrote about an area that he knew well (the Pampas of Uruguay and Argentina), as for GREEN MANSIONS, a book written about an area that he did not know well (the Venezuelan jungle). Part of the true worth of THE PURPLE LAND (as it is commonly called) has thus escaped critics, who have not fully appreciated its worth as a sociohistorical documentary about an interesting part of the world during the embryonic decades of its history. Hudson knew and loved the pampa well. He had the unusual experience of being a talented Anglo-Saxon bred in the pampa during wild times. His powers of observation and description were notable, and readers are indebted to him for colorful vignettes of pampa life during the middle of the nineteenth century.

Many social types of Uruguay are clearly drawn in the pages of THE PURPLE LAND. The confusion of the times is also mirrored, when a wild, loosely knit society was taking control of the rolling, green pampa of Uruguay, a place blessed with deep topsoil, green grass, and ample water. Armies of gaucho cavalry flying white pennants from their lance tips (the Blancos, or Whites) battled armies of gaucho cavalry flying red pennants from their lance tips (the Colorados, or Reds). They initiated the traditional struggle between these two political factions...

(The entire section is 430 words.)