Les Sauvages Américains: Representations of Native Americans in French and English Colonial Literature [NOOK Book]

Overview

Algonquian and Iroquois natives of the American Northeast were described in great detail by colonial explorers who ventured into the region in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Beginning with the writings of John Smith and Samuel de Champlain, Gordon Sayre analyzes French and English accounts of Native Americans to reveal the rhetorical codes by which their cultures were represented and the influence that these images of Indians had on colonial and modern American society. By emphasizing the work of ...

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Les Sauvages Américains: Representations of Native Americans in French and English Colonial Literature

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Overview

Algonquian and Iroquois natives of the American Northeast were described in great detail by colonial explorers who ventured into the region in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Beginning with the writings of John Smith and Samuel de Champlain, Gordon Sayre analyzes French and English accounts of Native Americans to reveal the rhetorical codes by which their cultures were represented and the influence that these images of Indians had on colonial and modern American society. By emphasizing the work of Pierre Franáois-Xavier Charlevoix, Joseph-Franáois Lafitau, and Baron de Lahontan, among others, Sayre highlights the important contribution that French explorers and ethnographers made to colonial literature. Sayre's interdisciplinary approach draws on anthropology, cultural studies, and literary methodologies. He cautions against dismissing these colonial texts as purveyors of ethnocentric stereotypes, asserting that they offer insights into Native American cultures. Furthermore, early accounts of American Indians reveal Europeans' serious examination of their own customs and values: Sayre demonstrates how encounters with natives' wampum belts, tattoos, and pelt garments, for example, forced colonists to question the nature of money, writing, and clothing; and how the Indians' techniques of warfare and practice of adopting prisoners led to new concepts of cultural identity and inspired key themes in the European enlightenment and American individualism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An important addition to any library.

Religious Studies Review

Makes a profound contribution to our understanding of New World natural history.

Reviews in American History

Importantly enriches our understanding of colonial texts and the manner in which such documents record cultural information.

American Literature

[A] significant contribution to American literary history, one that asks us to rethink some of our most basic assumptions.

Christianity and Literature

A thought-provoking analysis of some previously little-considered aspects of early European-Amerindian relations.

Olive Patricia Dickason, William and Mary Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807864340
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 8/11/1997
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 408
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Gordon M. Sayre is associate professor of English at the University of Oregon.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Colonial American Literature across Languages and Disciplines 1
Ch. 2 John Smith and Samuel de Champlain: Founding Fathers and Their Indian Relations 49
Ch. 3 Travel Narrative and Ethnography: Rhetorics of Colonial Writing 79
Ch. 4 Clothing, Money, and Writing 144
Ch. 5 The Beaver as Native and as Colonist 218
Ch. 6 War, Captivity, Adoption, and Torture 248
Epilogue: Borders: Niagara, 1763 305
Biographical Dictionary of Colonial American Explorer-Ethnographers 323
Notes 333
Works Cited 351
Index 377
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