Cover image for Scenes of visionary enchantment : reflections on Lewis and Clark
Scenes of visionary enchantment : reflections on Lewis and Clark
Duncan, Dayton.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
x, 202 pages ; 24 cm
An unsatisfied curiosity -- Great expectations : Lewis in Philadelphia -- Days of discovery -- Independence Creek -- The Alexander Hamilton Willard expedition -- Of hearths and home -- "This long wished for spot" -- "Seens of visionary inchantment" -- Meriwether Lewis's "curious adventure" -- "Toilsome days and wristless nights" -- "The most hospitable, honest and sincere people" -- Hallowed ground -- Meditations on a grave -- The view from the home front -- The Lewis and Clark guide to leadership -- We proceeded on -- "O! The joy" : trail advice for the modern explorer.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F592.7 .D86 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Suffering from a case of "road fever" brought on by prolonged exposure to the journals of Lewis and Clark, Dayton Duncan has retraced the Corps of Discovery's route from Saint Louis to the Pacific and back again four different times during the past twenty years--to say nothing of his countless additional trips to landmarks along their route. In sweltering summer heat and in temperatures 45 degrees below zero, he watched yellow moons rise and heard buffalo thunder; navigated against the Missouri River's relentless current and stood on its surface, frozen solid overnight; canoed a dozen times through Montana's magnificent White Cliffs (Lewis's "seens of visionary inchantment"); and read the journals by candlelight in the expedition's fort on the Pacific coast. Along the way, Duncan wrote the essays that make up this book, essays that guide the reader on a journey of discovery along the trail of Lewis and Clark.

More a revisiting than a retelling of the story of the Corps of Discovery, Duncan's book reintroduces us to people and places along the trail, reflects on events large and small that occurred during the expedition, and offers constant--and constantly entertaining--insights into why, two centuries later, the saga of Lewis and Clark continues to exert such a powerful hold on our national imagination.

Author Notes

Dayton Duncan is an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker and the author of twelve books, including Out West: A Journey through Lewis and Clark's America and Miles from Nowhere: Tales from America's Contemporary Frontier , both available in Bison Books editions. His most recent books (coauthored with Ken Burns) are The National Parks: America's Best Idea and The Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History .

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

With bicentennial observances of the Corps of Discovery's epic trek set to unfold over the next two years, the already huge specialty and popular literature about Lewis and Clark is about to expand. Duncan wrote the book ( Lewis & Clark0 , 1997) spun off from filmmakeren Burns' documentary, a credential that will draw readers to his essays on eclectic aspects of America's most famous road trip. He manages to pull some original observations from the Lewis and Clark saga, no small feat when its most minute detail has been examined with almost scriptural scrutiny. The 16 pieces generally derive from speeches Duncan delivered to groups dedicated to Lewis and Clark commemoration; one is a eulogy to Undaunted Courage0 (1996) author Stephen Ambrose. Duncan's orations typically draw inspiration from something in the explorers' journals that instantly resonates with enthusiasts, such as Lewis' escape from a bear, or simply a rapturous phrase, such as the one Duncan borrowed for his title. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

An admittedly die-hard fan of Lewis and Clark, Duncan (Out West: A Journey Through Lewis & Clark's America; Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip) is extremely knowledgeable about the Corps of Discovery's expedition, which is reflected in this fine collection of 16 road essays inspired by his retracing Lewis and Clark's trail over the past 20 years. He picks events both big and small which tease out those minute, everyday details that broaden our understanding of Corps members and their incredible journey to the Pacific Ocean and back. While Duncan regrets that the Corps members' journals mostly record facts and do not explore feelings and personalities ("these are not the diaries of teenage girls," he understates), his familiarity with the journals, firsthand experiences on the Lewis and Clark trail, and mastery of the research of others help fill in the gaps. Duncan exhorts readers to "travel in the spirit of Lewis and Clark-with curiosity and wonder," something that many people will undoubtedly do as this year marks the 200th anniversary of the start of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Highly recommended.-Margaret Atwater-Singer, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 An Unsatis&fi;ed Curiosityp. 1
2 Great Expectations: Lewis in Philadelphiap. 14
3 Days of Discoveryp. 26
4 Independence Creekp. 35
5 The Alexander Hamilton Willard Expeditionp. 39
6 Of Hearths and Homep. 53
7 "this Long Wished for Spot"p. 63
8 "seens of Visionary Inchantment"p. 73
9 Meriwether Lewis's "curious Adventure"p. 84
10 "toilsome Days and Wristless Nights"p. 93
11 "the Most Hospitable, Honest and Sincere People"p. 106
12 Hallowed Groundp. 118
13 Meditations on a Gravep. 133
14 The View from the Home Frontp. 145
15 The Lewis and Clark Guide to Leadershipp. 160
16 We Proceeded Onp. 184
17 "o! the Joy": Trail Advice for the Modern Explorerp. 193
Acknowledgmentsp. 201