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Old 11-15-2011, 03:51 AM   #1
Le Saboteur
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Livingstone's Lost Journal Restored



Yes, that Livingstone.

Originally penned in 1871, Dr. Livingstone had run out of paper while holed up in a Congolese village along the Lualaba River except for a copy of what is now known as The London Evening Standard. Out of it, he managed to get two 32-page journals by writing across the pages and perpendicular to the text.

After some 140-years of collecting dust at David Livingstone Center in Blantyre, Scotland, the text had become completely illegible. Working closely with the text scientists and scholars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Fountain
used light-emitting diodes and a high-resolution digital camera — with about five times the pixel capacity of a typical point-and-shoot — to take multiple images of each page under light of a range of wavelengths, from ultraviolet through the visible spectrum to infrared. The huge image files — more than a trillion bytes of data in all — were processed and analyzed by computer.

Read up on the restoration at The New York Times.

The National Library of Scotland also has an in depth article on the restoration that you can read up on here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Livingstone
‘50 yards off two guns were fired and a general flight took place – shot after shot followed on the terrified fugitives – great numbers died – It is awful – terrible, a dreadful world this,’ writes Livingstone in despair as he witnesses the massacre. ‘As I write, shot after shot falls on the fugitives on the other side [of the river] who are wailing loudly over those they know are already slain – Oh let thy kingdom come.’

The above quote is from the principle entry, an account of the massacre of some 400 slaves by Arab slave traders. Livingstone retold this incident to H. M. Stanley, but left it out of the Last Journals of David Livingstone published in 1874 a year after Livingstone's death.

Thanks to funding from the US National Endowment for the Humanities and the British Academy, the full and unexpurgated text is being made available to read by the David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project, The University of California, Los Angeles, & Livingstone Online!



Quote:
Originally Posted by From the introduction to Multispectral Critical Edition
In 1871, David Livingstone spent five months stranded in a small village in the Congo called Nyangwe. He had run out of writing paper and had nearly run out of ink, so he improvised the materials for his diary by writing over an old copy of The Standard newspaper with ink made from the seeds of a local berry. On 15 July 1871, while still in Nyangwe, Livingstone witnessed a massacre of the local African population by Arab slave traders from Zanzibar. Some 400 or 500 Africans, the majority of them women, died in a single day – a scale of murder and death unprecedented in Livingstone’s experience.

To delve right into the diary head this way. Otherwise, check out the site's home page to check out the spectral imaging archive and the other writings on offer. Another journal is supposed to be forthcoming for those who're interested.

Do follow the Livingstone Online link if you're interested in reading Dr. Livingstone's medical writings.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:07 PM   #2
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15 July, 1871. This would have been just a few months before he was 'found' by Stanley in November of that same year. (I *think* this massacre was mentioned in one of the film versions.)

Restoration projects using technological means such as this are truly wonderful and are to be admired. Working to rescue these types of documents would be a thrilling experience. It reminds of the recent ability (via high-res scans) to reproduce early, sound recordings from gramaphone discs that have become to brittle to play without destroying the grooves.

Thanks for the head-up, Sabby, my friend! Now if only someone could find the pages that Stanley ripped out of his own diary!
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
Thanks for the head-up, Sabby, my friend! Now if only someone could find the pages that Stanley ripped out of his own diary!

Glad you found it worthwhile, Stoo! I, also, wouldn't mind reading those missing pages from H.M. Stanley's diary, but if Tim Jeal didn't find it for his masterful biography of Henry Morton Stanley, I don't think they've survived.



I think I've mentioned this before, but if you haven't taken the time to check out the first chapter, do so. You can read it courtesy of The New York Times here.

If you have taken the time to read it, his latest just recently came out. Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure details the twenty year period during the middle of the 19th Century when finding the headwaters of the Nile was the proverbial feather in the cap. Jeal tells the story through the interlocking stories of Livingstone, Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, James Grant, Samuel Baker and Henry Morton Stanley.

Reviews can be found here, here, and here.

Faber & Faber have an audio excerpt available here.

Yale University Press, Jeal's American publisher, has a much better selection of excerpts and samples available on their site.

Direct link to Jeal's essay can he found here, and a chapter except (note: .pdf file) can be read here.

To tie all of this back into the original thought, Jeal surmises that had the Arab-Swahili slave trade continue to dominate the continent, Darfur is a good example of what relations might look like today.
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:07 AM   #4
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I thought I would temporarily suspend radio silence to let interested parties know that PBS' documentary, The Lost Diary of Dr. Livingstone, can be found on Netflix's streaming service. Don't have Netflix? No problem! Your local PBS station should be still showing it intermittently, and if that's too much work you can check it out at their site.






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Old 08-04-2014, 04:39 PM   #5
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Thanks for the heads-up, Bwana.

Of further interest is the 1977 book, "Ten Who Dared", by Desmond Wilcox. One chapter brilliantly chronicles Henry Morton Stanley's 1874-77 expedition to follow the course of the Congo River, continuing Livingstone's ultimate dreams. During the trek, the party battles hostile tribes, tackles the terrain & animals, etc. and the tale is about as exciting as true-life ordeals can get. Highly recommended for those who like to read about ADVENTURE. It's a condensed version of Stanley's own account, "Through the Dark Continent", but still a great read*.

I've had the book for decades but just recently learned that it was published in tandem with a 1976 'docu-drama' BBC series titled, "The Explorers" (but called, "Ten Who Dared" in North America, just like the book…on PBS maybe?). One of the episodes is about Stanley's expedition. Would love to see it!

*Including all of the other real-life tales!
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