Download PDF by Gananath Obeyesekere: Cannibal Talk: The Man-eating Myth and Human Sacrifice in

By Gananath Obeyesekere

ISBN-10: 0520243080

ISBN-13: 9780520243088

During this radical reexamination of the proposal of cannibalism, Gananath Obeyesekere bargains a desirable and convincing argument that cannibalism is generally "cannibal talk," a discourse at the different engaged in through either indigenous peoples and colonial intruders that ends up in occasionally humorous and occasionally lethal cultural misunderstandings. Turning his willing intelligence to Polynesian societies within the early classes of eu touch and colonization, Obeyesekere deconstructs Western eyewitness debts, conscientiously interpreting their origins and treating them as a species of fiction writing and seamen's yarns. Cannibalism is much less a social or cultural truth than a mythic illustration of ecu writing that displays even more the realities of ecu societies and their fascination with the perform of cannibalism, he argues. And whereas very restricted varieties of cannibalism may need happened in Polynesian societies, they have been principally in reference to human sacrifice and conducted via a decide on neighborhood in well-defined sacramental rituals. Cannibal speak considers how the colonial intrusion produced a fancy self-fulfilling prophecy wherein the delusion of cannibalism turned a truth as natives once in a while started to devour either Europeans and their very own enemies in acts of "conspicuous anthropophagy."

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Additional info for Cannibal Talk: The Man-eating Myth and Human Sacrifice in the South Seas

Sample text

Asians and even savage Europeans were not exempt. “What say you to thousands of Laplanders, Samoiedes, and Greenlanders, all who live in the high northern latitudes? Are they as civilized as sheep or oxen? Add to these the myriad of human savages that are freezing among the snows of Siberia. . ”23 Wesley argued that according to the doctrines of original sin, Africans and other non-Western peoples were corrupt and degenerate. 24 The opening up of the world through the voyages of discovery forced Europeans into actual confrontation with strange beings, and to a realization that the world they had peopled with monsters did not match with reality.

The incorporation of the savage into the model of the monster has more general implications and is not simply a matter of physical perceptions of travelers, navigators, and early explorers living under conditions of strain. Psychologically more salient is the identification of the fantasy of monsters with the nature of savages. This implied the fusion of the psychic reality of monstrosity with the physical reality of savagism. There were of course gradations in this identity. 30 The Maori were in between since they were defined primarily in terms of their anthropophagous propensities.

For Cook, however, this reply was proof of their cannibalism: These visiters [sic] furnished us with an opportunity of agitating again, this day, the curious inquiry, whether they were cannibals. . One of the islanders, who wanted to get in at the gun-room port, was refused; and, at the same time, asked, whether, if he should come in, we could kill and eat him? accompanying this question with signs so expressive, that there could be no doubt about his meaning. This gave a proper opening to retort the question as to this practice; and a person behind the other, in the canoe, who paid great attention to what was passing, immediately answered, that if we were killed on shore, they would certainly eat us.

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Cannibal Talk: The Man-eating Myth and Human Sacrifice in the South Seas by Gananath Obeyesekere


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