BN.com Gift Guide

Whipscars and Tattoos: The Last of the Mohicans, Moby-Dick, and the Maori

Overview


In this original study, Geoffrey Sanborn presents a fresh interpretation of the villanous Magua in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and of the dignified harpooner Queequeg in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (1851). Through careful historical research, Sanborn has determined that both authors relied heavily on contemporary accounts of the indigenous natives of New Zealand, the Maori, to develop their iconic characters. Cooper drew heavily on the account of Te Aara in John Liddiard Nicholas's ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $15.22   
  • New (6) from $20.74   
  • Used (2) from $15.22   
Sending request ...

Overview


In this original study, Geoffrey Sanborn presents a fresh interpretation of the villanous Magua in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and of the dignified harpooner Queequeg in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (1851). Through careful historical research, Sanborn has determined that both authors relied heavily on contemporary accounts of the indigenous natives of New Zealand, the Maori, to develop their iconic characters. Cooper drew heavily on the account of Te Aara in John Liddiard Nicholas's Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand (1817) while Melville studied the personal history of Te Pehi Kupe in George Lillie Craik's The New Zealanders (1830) to flesh out his characterization of Queequeg. A close reading of the historical evidence and the source material supports this compelling line of argumentation.
At the same time, this isn't a simple source study nor an act of explanatory historical recovery. The conception of the Maori is sophisticated and paradoxical, a portrait of violent but nonetheless idealized masculinity in which dignity depends on the existence of fiercely defiant pride. This lens allows Sanborn to present a radically different view of these fictional characters as well as underscoring the imaginative projection that went into reporting on the Maori themselves. Magua is no longer a stereotypical "bad Indian" or "ignoble savage," but rather a non-white "gentleman," an argument that supports Sanborn's contention that throughout his career Cooper prioritizes status equivalence over racial difference. Queequeg is similarly re-imagined, a move that allows Sanborn to explicate scenes in Moby-Dick that are often dodged by other critics because they do not fit with the standard interpretations of the character. The study as a whole provides a vivid example of the fascinating interplay between fiction and non-fiction in the nineteenth century.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This lucid book is critically and historically illuminating, and immensely pleasurable. Sanborn brings his careful historical, biographical, ethnographical study of the nineteenth-century Maori, who by the 1830s were being described as 'the most impressive people that Europeans had ever encountered' to his dense familiarity with the works of James Fenimore Cooper and Herman Melville. . . . Sketching Sanborn's intriguing claims does not begin to capture the charm of his project, which is so readable, even captivating, such a startling and rewarding engagement with both men and literature." --Journal of American Studies

"Who would have thought that the lives of two Maori from New Zealand would resonate so powerfully in two of the most celebrated masterpieces of American literature? Sanborn, with his extraordinary eye for the telling detail, has written an illuminating and compellingly original study of the transnational cross-cultural frontier." --Alex Calder, The Writing of New Zealand

"Geoffrey Sanborn's Whipscars and Tattoos illuminates everything it touches in new and startling ways, from its harrowingly memorable portrait of the Maori to its brilliantly reorienting readings of two of America's most canonical novelists, and in doing so, provides an exhilarating example of what American Studies can do, and be." --Jim Shepard, author of Like You'd Understand, Anyway

"Fascinating...Specialists will appreciate Sanborn's detailed notes, and less experienced readers will have no difficulty following his clear prose. Highly recommended." --Choice

"Adds substantially to our knowledge about Melville's possible reading and sources." --Resources for American Literary Study

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199985760
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey Sanborn is Professor of English at Amherst College. He is the author of Sign of the Cannibal: Melville and the Making of a Postcolonial Reader and the coeditor, with Samuel Otter, of Melville and Aesthetics.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations

Glossary

Introduction: Grand, Ungodly, Godlike Men

Chapter 1: Te Aara's Scars

Chapter 2: Cooper's Death Song

Chapter 3: Te Pehi Kupe's Moko

Chapter 4: Melville's Furious Life

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)