Famous but unemployed, in 1904 Euclides da Cunha was appointed head of the Comissão Brasileira de Reconhecimento do Alto Purus (Brazilian commission for reconnaissance of the Alto Purus). After traveling through part of the Amazon, da Cunha intended to write a book entitled Um paraíso perdido (A paradise lost). The article analyzes his ‘Amazon essays’, technical reports, personal correspondence, and reading notes (including an unpublished notebook) as part of an effort to understand the associations that da Cunha made between his own observations and his broad readings of naturalists and scientific experts on the Amazon. In his view, achieving an understanding of this region would make an unparalleled contribution to natural history.
Euclides da Cunha; Amazon; history of sciences; Um paraíso perdido; naturalists; scientists