The Return of Hans Staden: A Go-between in the Atlantic World

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Overview

Hans Staden’s sixteenth-century account of shipwreck and captivity by the Tupinambá Indians of Brazil was an early modern bestseller. This retelling of the German sailor’s eyewitness account known as the True History shows both why it was so popular at the time and why it remains an important tool for understanding the opening of the Atlantic world.

Eve M. Duffy and Alida C. Metcalf carefully reconstruct Staden’s life as a German soldier, his two expeditions to the Americas, and his subsequent shipwreck, captivity, brush with cannibalism, escape, and return. The authors explore how these events and experiences were recreated in the text and images of the True History. Focusing on Staden’s multiple roles as a go-between, Duffy and Metcalf address many of the issues that emerge when cultures come into contact and conflict.

An artful and accessible interpretation, The Return of Hans Staden takes a text best known for its sensational tale of cannibalism and shows how it can be reinterpreted as a window into the precariousness of lives on both sides of early modern encounters, when such issues as truth and lying, violence, religious belief, and cultural difference were key to the formation of the Atlantic world.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

The Americas
This work has a broad appeal and should be of immediate interest to a wide variety of scholars and students. One of its best features is that it is readable while also very scholarly...This enjoyable text could be used very successfully with graduate students or undergraduates in an upper-division class.

— Timothy J. Coates

German History
The Return of Hans Staden is a useful book for students, a good way to acquire a first acquaintance with the worlds of a sixteenth-century Landsknecht and German conquistador on both side of the Atlantic.

— Bernd J.W. Ludke

The Americas - Timothy J. Coates
This work has a broad appeal and should be of immediate interest to a wide variety of scholars and students. One of its best features is that it is readable while also very scholarly... This enjoyable text could be used very successfully with graduate students or undergraduates in an upper-division class.
German History - Bernd J.W. Ludke
The Return of Hans Staden is a useful book for students, a good way to acquire a first acquaintance with the worlds of a sixteenth-century Landsknecht and German conquistador on both side of the Atlantic.
The Coordinating Council for Women in History - Mary Lindemann
Elegant... intriguing.
William and Mary Quarterly - Surekha Davies
Scholars of early images of the Americas and of cultural encounters, captivity, and oceanic expansion will find the material engaging.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421403465
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Eve M. Duffy is the director of the Program in the Humanities and Human Values at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Alida C. Metcalf is the Harris Masterson, Jr. Professor of History at Rice University and the author of Go-betweens and the Colonization of Brazil, 1500–1600.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

A Note on Spelling and Citation xv

Introduction 1

1 Staden Goes to Sea 12

2 The Lying Captive 48

3 The Traveler Returns 77

4 Staden's Images 103

Epilogue 136

Notes 145

Bibliography 171

Index 187

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