Enfilade

New Book | The Savage and Modern Self

Posted in books by Editor on May 10, 2018

From the University of Toronto Press:

Robbie Richardson, The Savage and Modern Self: North American Indians in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018), 264 pages, ISBN 9781487503444, $70.

The Savage and Modern Self examines the representations of North American ‘Indians’ in novels, poetry, plays, and material culture from eighteenth-century Britain. Robbie Richardson argues that depictions of ‘Indians’ in British literature were used to critique and articulate evolving ideas about consumerism, colonialism, ‘Britishness’, and, ultimately, the ‘modern self’ over the course of the century.

Considering the ways in which British writers represented contact between Britons and ‘Indians’, both at home and abroad, the author shows how these sites of contact moved from a self-affirmation of British authority earlier in the century, to a mutual corruption, to a desire to appropriate perceived traits of ‘Indianess’. Looking at texts exclusively produced in Britain, The Savage and Modern Self reveals that ‘the modern’ finds definition through imagined scenes of cultural contact. By the end of the century, Richardson concludes, the hybrid Indian-Brition emerging in literature and visual culture exemplifies a form of modern, British masculinity.

Robbie Richardson is a lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature at the University of Kent.

C O N T E N T S

1  Indians and the Construction of Britishness in the Early Eighteenth Century
2  The Indian as Cultural Critic: Shaping the British Self
3  Captivity Narratives and Colonialism
4  Novel Indians: Tsonnonthouan and the Commodification of Culture
5  Becoming Indians: Sentiment and the Hybrid British Subject
6  Native North American Material Culture in the British Imaginary
Conclusion: ‘Pen-and-Ink Work’

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