The Man-Eating Myth and Human Sacrifice in the South Seas
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Illustrations
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List of Abbreviations
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Cannibal Talk is almost entirely based on previously written articles and papersdelivered at various universities during the period 1989–2003 amidst other writingcommitments.1 My first foray into cannibalism was during my tenure as a fellowat the National Humanities Center in 1989–90 while working on my book TheApotheosis of Captain Cook (Princeton University Press, 1992). That was a won-...
1. Anthropology and the Man-Eating Myth
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As the title of this book, Cannibal Talk, implies, I deal with the discourses of can-nibalism and the behaviors and practices associated with such talk (“discursivepractices”) in the interaction between natives and Europeans following the “dis-covery” of Polynesia by Captain James Cook in the voyage of the Endeavour,1768–72. The “South Seas” of my title is also the product of the European roman-...
2. “British Cannibals”: Dialogical Misunderstandings in the South Seas
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The date is February 15, 1779, the day after the death of Captain James Cook inKealakekua Bay on the island of Hawai‘i, the place where I ended my previous nar-rative of the sad end of that redoubtable sea captain who, it is said, was a divinityfor Hawaiians.1 There is tension in the Hawaiian air: one group with their piles ofstones, another with their loaded guns, not an unusual phenomenon in those his-...
3. Concerning Violence: A Backward Journey into Maori Anthropophagy
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The change in Maori practice is probably the most controversial part of my argu-ment. I present my thesis hesitantly because no one seems to have a clear knowl-edge of precontact or “traditional” Maori anthropophagy. In fact this phrasingmight be a misnomer because New Zealand consisted of a multiplicity of Maoricommunities, such that, forms of anthropophagy, wherever they existed, would...
4. Savage Indignation: Cannibalism and the Parodic
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In several of the discourses mentioned in the previous chapters it seems that whatis parody for the Maori is deadly serious for his Other, the European.1 Sometimesthe humor is shared by both sides as in the second voyage when Cook reported ofhis curio-hungry sailors: “It was astonishing to see with what eagerness everyonecatched at every thing they saw, it even went so far as to become the ridicule of the...
5. The Later Fate of Heads: Cannibalism, Decapitation, and Capitalism
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...and he’s sold all of ’em but one, and that one he’s tryingFor the moment let me bracket “this cannibal business of selling the heads of deadidolators” that Melville’s Ishmael speaks about and shift instead to the significanceof that queer trade of Queequeg trying to sell his many heads even though the“market’s overstocked.”1 I will do so by continuing my earlier treatise on decapi-...
6. Cannibal Feasts in Nineteenth-Century Fiji: Seamen's Yarns and the Ethnographic Imagination
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Despite that fact that I am not as familiar with the political and economic situationof Fiji in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as I am with the Maori,I believe that in Fiji also there developed a form of pronounced anthropophagythat must be seen in terms of the European presence. The lure of trade, the mus-ket wars, and the rise of powerful chiefdoms and the political confederations that...
7. Narratives of the Self: Chevalier Peter Dillon's Fijian Cannibal Adventures
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Historical ignorance compels us to leave aside Lockerby and Thomas Smith andmove on to Peter Dillon who on September 6, 1813, presented an eyewitnessdescription of a cannibal feast that has not been surpassed in its detail before orsince. Dillon was a well-known sea captain, trader, and self-designated explorerliving in Sydney. Virtually every writer on Fiji mentions with approbation his...
8. On Quartering and Cannibalism and the Discourses of Savagism
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I shall leave the Greeks of Homer for the moment and begin this chapter with anaside on African cannibalism by T. H. Huxley in his popular book, Man’s Place inNature.2 Stephen Jay Gould refers to Huxley as “a fierce defender of evolution andthe greatest prose stylist in the history of British science,” and, I might add, a mangiven to an unrelenting rationality, an opponent of Christian theology and the in-...
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As I hinted in my preface, the several chapters in this book can either be read as acontinuous narrative or as separate essays held together by the theme of “cannibaltalk.” I now want to discuss a few of the issues that might not have been clear inthe preceding chapters. This will provide an opportunity for my critics to disagreewith me, because it must be remembered that falsification, let alone disproof, is...
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Page Count: 340
Publication Year: 2005