God, Gulliver, and Genocide: Barbarism and the European Imagination, 1492-1945

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We are obsessed with "barbarians." They are the "not us," who don't speak our language, or "any language," whom we despise, fear, invade and kill; for whom we feel compassion, or admiration, and an intense sexual interest; whose innocence or vigor we aspire to, and who have an extraordinary influence on the comportment, and even modes of dress, of our civilized metropolitan lives; whom we often outdo in the barbarism we impute to them; and whose suspected resemblance to us haunts our introspections and imaginings. This book looks afresh at how we have confronted the idea of "barbarism," in ourselves and others, from the conquest of the Americas to the Nazi Holocaust, through the voices of many writers, including Montaigne, Swift and Shaw.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198184256
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Pages: 420
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Claude Rawson is Maynard Mack Professor of English, Yale University. His works include Henry Fielding and the Augustan Ideal Under Stress; Gulliver and the Gentle Reader: Studies in Swift and Our Time; Order from Confusion Sprung: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature from Swift to Cowper; The Collected Poems of Thomas Parnell, with F. P. Lock; Satire and Sentiment 1660-1830; and Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Volume 4: The Eighteenth Century, with H. B. Nisbet.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Texts and Editions Used
Introduction 1
1 Indians and Irish from Montaigne to Swift 17
Catalogues of Conquest 17
Unspeaking the Unspeakable 24
'Ils se sont entremangez' 33
Good and Bad Indians 42
Utopians, Tupinamba, Houyhnhnms, Yahoos 55
Gunpowder Magic 62
Fynes Moryson and the Intelligencer 69
Indians, Irish, and the Scythian Myth 79
2 The Savage with Hanging Breasts: Gulliver, Female Yahoos, and 'Racism' 92
'A young Female Yahoo ... inflamed by Desire' 92
The Savage with Hanging Breasts 98
Hottentots and Irish 108
The Hottentot Venus 113
The Bum Shop 130
Matings with Strangers 138
Going Native 151
Apes and Angels 162
Post-colonial Couplings 175
3 Killing the Poor: An Anglo-Irish Theme? 183
'I look forward eagerly to their extermination' 183
'The worst of our crimes is poverty' 191
Dreams of the Beggar as Nobleman 203
Beggars and Hottentots, or Exterminate all the Brutes 209
Badging, Branding, and Castration 224
'The old sow that eats her farrow': The Beggarly Kingdom from Spenser to Joyce 232
The 'Whole' People 237
A Flayed Woman, and Brother Footman going to be Hanged 245
The Ought to be Shot: The 'desperate Experiment' of Figures of Speech 249
4 God, Gulliver, and Genocide 256
Yahoos, Helots, and Extermination 256
Gulliver and Biblical Survivors 266
'With the Skins of Yahoos, well stitched together' 275
The Reprieve of Castration and other Leniencies 287
Ten Righteous Men: Abraham Haggles with God 298
Notes 311
Index 381
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