Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World [NOOK Book]

Overview

Marvelous Possessions is a study of the ways in which Europeans of the late Middle Ages and the early modern period represented non-European peoples and took possession of their lands, in particular the New World.

In a series of innovative readings of travel narratives, judicial documents, and official reports, Stephen Greenblatt shows that the experience of the marvelous, central to both art and philosophy, was cunningly yoked by Columbus and...
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Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World

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Overview

Marvelous Possessions is a study of the ways in which Europeans of the late Middle Ages and the early modern period represented non-European peoples and took possession of their lands, in particular the New World.

In a series of innovative readings of travel narratives, judicial documents, and official reports, Stephen Greenblatt shows that the experience of the marvelous, central to both art and philosophy, was cunningly yoked by Columbus and others to the service of colonial appropriation. He argues that the traditional symbolic actions and legal rituals through which European sovereignty was asserted were strained to the breaking point by the unprecedented nature of the discovery of the New World. But the book also shows that the experience of the marvelous is not necessarily an agent of empire: in writers as different as Herodotus, Jean de Léry, and Montaigne—and notably in Mandeville's Travels, the most popular travel book of the Middle Ages—wonder is a sign of a remarkably tolerant recognition of cultural difference.

Marvelous Possession is not only a collection of the odd and exotic through which Stephen Greenblatt powerfully conveys a sense of the marvelous, but also a highly original extension of his thinking on a subject that has occupied him throughout his career. The book reaches back to the ancient Greeks and forward to the present to ask how it is possible, in a time of disorientation, hatred of the other, and possessiveness, to keep the capacity for wonder from being poisoned?

"A marvellous book. It is also a compelling and a powerful one. Nothing so original has ever been written on European responses to 'The wonder of the New World.'"—Anthony Pagden, Times Literary Supplement

"By far the most intellectually gripping and penetrating discussion of the relationship between intruders and natives is provided by Stephen Greenblatt's Marvelous Possessions."—Simon Schama, The New Republic

"For the most engaging and illuminating perspective of all, read Marvelous Possessions."—Laura Shapiro, Newsweek
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Explores how Europeans of the late Middle Ages and early modern period represented newly discovered exotic peoples in travel narratives, judicial documents, and official reports. Especially shows how the sense of the marvellous was primarily used to encourage the appropriation of new lands (but not always). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226306575
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/26/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 411,154
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Stephen Greenblatt
Stephen Greenblatt
John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, editor of The Norton Shakespeare, and prizewinning author of academic books including Hamlet in Purgatory, Stephen Greenblatt garnered a 2004 National Book Award nomination for his eye-opening look at the life and career of William Shakespeare.

Biography

Stephen Greenblatt is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, editor of The Norton Shakespeare, and prizewinning author of many academic books, including Hamlet in Purgatory.

Author biography courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Greenblatt:

"As a child, I loved to read so much so that I can remember my mother calling to me, ‘Stevie, you'll ruin your eyes. Put down that book and come watch I Love Lucy.' "

"My father was a marvelous, virtually obsessive storyteller."

"Though I have spent much of my adult life thinking about Shakespeare, my first encounter with Shakespeare was a disaster. In junior high school, I found As You Like It quite possibly the most tedious and annoying thing I had ever read."

"I have interests and hobbies outside my work, of course, but the crucial thing to say is that I don't experience a great divide between my work and my pleasure. On the contrary."

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    1. Hometown:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 7, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A., Yale University, 1964; B.A., Cambridge University, 1966; Ph.D., Yale University, 1969

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Introduction
2. From the Dome of the Rock to the Rim of the World
3. Marvelous Possessions
4. Kidnapping Language
5. The Go-Between
Notes
Index
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    Loveit Love it

    Cool man

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    Posted October 12, 2012

    DISTRICT EIGHT

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