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Assembling Caliban: French and Other European Depictions of American Bodies in the Sixteenth Century

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/11125

Assembling Caliban: French and Other European Depictions of American Bodies in the Sixteenth Century

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Title: Assembling Caliban: French and Other European Depictions of American Bodies in the Sixteenth Century
Author: Berch, Matthew
Advisor(s): Bieber, Judy
Committee Member(s): Gauderman, Kimberly
Hutchison, Elizabeth
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of History
Subject(s): Jean de Lery
Antarctic France
Guanabara, Brazil (Failed French colony)
LC Subject(s): France--Colonies--Brazil--History
Lery, Jean de, 1534-1611--Criticism and interpretation
Thevet, Andre, 1502-1590--Criticism and interpretation
Montaigne, Mechel de, 1533-1592--Criticism and interpretation
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: The present study elucidates several of the key tropes and figures employed by a select group of French and European commentators and artists in their attempt to contextualize New World discovery. Utilizing travel narratives, voyager reports, and literary materials, this study traces a specific thematic genealogy from the late thirteenth century to the end of the Renaissance. Over a period of three hundred plus years, various European texts from Mandeville’s Travels to The Tempest depicted European encounters with foreign bodies. While descriptions varied, certain recurring themes and tropes gradually developed as European explorers expanded the scope of their ethno-geographic inquiry. One particular episode—the failed French colonial experiment at Guanabara, Brazil—dramatically altered the evolution of European literary understandings of cultural difference. This study hopes to better situate this Franco-Brazilian encounter within a broader Renaissance cultural aesthetics. The writings of a series of French thinkers including André Thevet, Jean de Léry, and Michel de Montaigne, are examined here in order to both explore their thematic heritage and to access their intellectual impact.
Graduation Date: July 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/11125

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