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Author Greenblatt, Stephen, 1943-

Title Marvelous possessions : the wonder of the New World / Stephen Greenblatt
Published Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1991


Location Call no. Vol. Availability
 MELB  970.015 Gre/Mpt  AVAILABLE
Description ix, 202 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Series The Clarendon lectures and the Carpenter lectures 1988
Contents Machine derived contents note: 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
Summary This study examines 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 readings of travel narratives, judicial documents and official documents, Greenblatt shows that "the experience of the marvellous", central to both art and philosophy, was yoked by Columbus and others to service of colonial appropriation. He argues that the traditional symbolic actions and legal rituals through which European sovereignty was asserted were strained to breaking point by the unprecedented nature of the discovery of the New World. But the book also shows that "the experience of the marvellous" is not necessarily an agent of empire: in writers as different as Herodotus, Jean de Lery and Montaigne - and notably in "Mandeville's Travels"--Wonder is the sign of a recognition of cultural difference. Greenblatt 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 possesiveness, to keep the capacity for wonder from being poisoned
Analysis America
Christopher Columbus
Cultural conflict
Cultural values
Overseas item
Notes "The Clarendon lectures (Oxford University) and the Carpenter lectures (University of Chicago), 1988"--Page opposite title page
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 152-194) and index
Subject Curiosities and wonders -- Social aspects.
Indians -- First contact with Europeans.
Indians -- Public opinion.
Marvelous, The -- Social aspects.
Travel in literature.
Wonder -- Social aspects.
Americas -- Description and travel.
Americas -- Discovery and exploration.
LC no. 91003447
ISBN 0198122667