The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the Pacific / Edition 2

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Overview

Here Gananath Obeyesekere debunks one of the most enduring myths of imperialism, civilization, and conquest: the notion that the Western civilizer is a god to savages. Using shipboard journals and logs kept by Captain James Cook and his officers, Obeyesekere reveals the captain as both the self-conscious civilizer and as the person who, his mission gone awry, becomes a "savage" himself.

In this new edition of The Apotheosis of Captain Cook, the author addresses, in a lengthy afterword, Marshall Sahlins's 1994 book, How "Natives" Think, which was a direct response to this work.

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Editorial Reviews

Current Anthropology
A remarkably rich and persuasive argument.
— Nicholas Thomas
The New York Times Book Review
A fascinating and important book . . . Obeyesekere examines [Cook's] murder and the events leading up to it in a fresh way.
— Robert L. Levy
The Sciences
Without question the most provocative reassessment of the famed explorer's demise.... Obeyesekere has made a persuasive case for his counternarrative of Captain Cook, strongly supporting it with a fine-grained analysis of an impressive array of cultural material, some of it long submerged....
— Amy Burce
The New Republic
There are so many ways of patronizing the past, [Obeyesekere] as good as says, and one of them is to accept your own culture's version of it. For this reason alone, his book would be stimulating. But there is more, much of it centering around the personality of James Cook himself. That familiar, Queegish figure of a ship's master obsessed with theft, increasingly unhinged by whatever private ghosts ... is surely worth examining.
— James Hamilton-Paterson
The Washington Times
The whole book is admirable, impeccable, even at times brilliant.
— Simon Schama
The New York Times Book Review - Robert I. Levy
In The Apotheosis of Captain Cook, a fascinating and important book, Gananath Obeyesekere ... examines the murder and the events leading up to it in a fresh way. He enlarges the debate about how we think not only about our own diminishing collection of heroes, but also about the outsiders of European history, in this case the eighteenth-century Hawaiians.
The Sciences - Amy Burce
Without question the most provocative reassessment of the famed explorer's demise.... Obeyesekere has made a persuasive case for his counternarrative of Captain Cook, strongly supporting it with a fine-grained analysis of an impressive array of cultural material, some of it long submerged....
The New Republic - James Hamilton-Paterson
There are so many ways of patronizing the past, [Obeyesekere] as good as says, and one of them is to accept your own culture's version of it. For this reason alone, his book would be stimulating. But there is more, much of it centering around the personality of James Cook himself. That familiar, Queegish figure of a ship's master obsessed with theft, increasingly unhinged by whatever private ghosts ... is surely worth examining.
The New York Times Book Review - Robert L. Levy
A fascinating and important book . . . Obeyesekere examines [Cook's] murder and the events leading up to it in a fresh way.
The Washington Times - Simon Schama
The whole book is admirable, impeccable, even at times brilliant.
Current Anthropology - Nicholas Thomas
A remarkably rich and persuasive argument.
From the Publisher

Winner of the 1992 Louis Gottschalk Prize, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Winner of the 1993 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in History, Association of American Publishers

"In The Apotheosis of Captain Cook, a fascinating and important book, Gananath Obeyesekere ... examines the murder and the events leading up to it in a fresh way. He enlarges the debate about how we think not only about our own diminishing collection of heroes, but also about the outsiders of European history, in this case the eighteenth-century Hawaiians."--Robert I. Levy, The New York Times Book Review

"Without question the most provocative reassessment of the famed explorer's demise.... Obeyesekere has made a persuasive case for his counternarrative of Captain Cook, strongly supporting it with a fine-grained analysis of an impressive array of cultural material, some of it long submerged...."--Amy Burce, The Sciences

"There are so many ways of patronizing the past, [Obeyesekere] as good as says, and one of them is to accept your own culture's version of it. For this reason alone, his book would be stimulating. But there is more, much of it centering around the personality of James Cook himself. That familiar, Queegish figure of a ship's master obsessed with theft, increasingly unhinged by whatever private ghosts ... is surely worth examining."--James Hamilton-Paterson, The New Republic

"A fascinating and important book . . . Obeyesekere examines [Cook's] murder and the events leading up to it in a fresh way."--Robert L. Levy, The New York Times Book Review

"The whole book is admirable, impeccable, even at times brilliant."--Simon Schama, The Washington Times

"A remarkably rich and persuasive argument."--Nicholas Thomas, Current Anthropology

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691057521
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 11/24/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Captain Cook and the European Imagination 3
Myth Models 8
Improvisation Rationality and Savage Thought 15
The Third Coming: A Flashback to the South Seas 23
The Visit to Tahiti and the Destruction of Eimeo 34
The Discovery of Hawaii 40
The Thesis of the Apotheosis 49
Further Objections to the Apotheosis: Maculate Perceptions and Cultural Conceptions 60
Anthropology and Pseudo-History 66
Politics and the Apotheosis: A Hawaiian Perspective 74
The Other Lono: Omiah, the Dalai Lama of the Hawaiians 92
Cook, Lono, and the Makahiki Festival 95
The Narrative Resumed: The Last Days 102
The Death of Cook: British and Hawaiian Versions 109
Language Games and the European Apotheosis of James Cook 120
The Humanist Myth in New Zealand History 131
The Resurrection and Return of James Cook 137
The Versions of the Apotheosis in the Traditions of Sea Voyagers 142
Cook, Fornication, and Evil: The Myth of the Missionaries 154
On Native Histories: Myth, Debate, and Contentious Discourse 163
Monterey Melons; or, A Native's Reflection on the Topic of Tropical Tropes 171
Myth Models in Anthropological Narrative 177
The Mourning and the Aftermath 187
Afterword: On De-Sahlinization 193
Appendix I: The Destruction of Hikiau and the Death of William Watman 251
Appendix II: Kalii and the Divinity of Kings 255
Notes 259
Bibliography 299
Index 307
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