The Savage and Modern Self: North American Indians in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture
Published: May 2018© 2018
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 264 Pages
Dimensions: 6.20 x 9.20
264 Pages, 6.20 x 9.20 x 1.10 in
The Savage and Modern Self examines the representations of North American "Indians" in novels, poetry, plays, and material culture from eighteenth-century Britain. Author Robbie Richardson argues that depictions of "Indians" in British literature were used to critique and articulate evolving ideas about consumerism, colonialism, "Britishness," and, ultimately, the "modern self" over the course of the century.
Considering the ways in which British writers represented contact between Britons and "Indians," both at home and abroad, the author shows how these sites of contact moved from a self-affirmation of British authority earlier in the century, to a mutual corruption, to a desire to appropriate perceived traits of "Indianess." Looking at texts exclusively produced in Britain, The Savage and Modern Self reveals that "the modern" finds definition through imagined scenes of cultural contact. By the end of the century, Richardson concludes, the hybrid Indian-Brition emerging in literature and visual culture exemplifies a form of modern, British masculinity.
1. Indians and the Construction of Britishness in the Early Eighteenth Century
2. The Indian as Cultural Critic: Shaping the British Self
3. Captivity Narratives and Colonialism
4. Novel Indians: Tsonnonthouan and the Commodification of Culture
5. Becoming Indians: Sentiment and the Hybrid British Subject
6. Native North American Material Culture in the British Imaginary
Conclusion: "Pen-and-Ink Work"
"Dr. Richardson [is] completely successful in producing a work that questions, and ultimately undermines, both our notions of fixed identity and the place of "Indians" on the margins of modernity."Thomas Donald Jacobs, University of Ghent, Transmotion, vol 4 no 2, 2018
"Richardson’s work demonstrates just how varied and rich eighteenth-century representations of North American ‘Indians’ were. While the ‘Indian’ as a representational figure had, since first contact, always been multivalent and employed to critique European culture or justify certain political or religious persuasions, Richardson nonetheless rightly highlights the complexities, fluctuations, and increasing malleability of these representations in the eighteenth century."Rachel Winchcombe, University of Manchester, Journal of British Studies
"Robbie Richardson’s The Savage and Modern Self is a groundbreaking study of British representations of Native Americans from the Act of Union in 1707 to the dissensus of the 1790s. Over the course of six chapters, Richardson persuasively argues that the construction of modern British subjectivity includes acts of appropriating and disavowing features attributed to the figure of the Indian in the British cultural imaginary."Kelly Fleming, Kenyon College, Eighteenth-Century Fiction
"The Savage and Modern Self is a valuable, timely, and intelligent work full of engaging and fertile insights. Robbie Richardson calls attention to particular texts, events, contexts, themes, and issues while also raising core questions about the development of the modern subject and about the fundamental premises of modernity itself."Laura Brown, John Wendell Anderson Professor of English, Cornell University
"Extremely well written and beautifully presented, The Savage and Modern Self analyzes the eighteenth century ‘pen and ink’ works about Native Americans by British writers. Offering a fascinating and truly admirable array of readings, this book traces the shifting attitudes to the subject, and argues that such literature variously disrupted British culture – which was often regarded as the building blocks of the ‘modern self ’ and often recognized as ‘modernity’ itself."Kate Fullagar, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, Macquarie University