Metaphors of Dispossession: American Beginnings and the Translation of Empire, 1492-1637

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9780806129532: Metaphors of Dispossession: American Beginnings and the Translation of Empire, 1492-1637

In this timely contribution to colonial studies, Gesa Mackenthun analyzes English and Spanish narratives of the "discovery" and colonization of America, from the Caribbean and Mexico north to Virginia and New England. She shows how Europeans wrote themselves into possession of America by translating their deep-seated colonial anxiety into the ideology of native savagery and rightful territorial ownership. The Europeans' metaphors of domination depended on silencing indigenous voices even as the writers pretended to record Native leaders. This series of theoretically informed readings includes Hernan Cortes and Motecuhzoma, Richard Hakluyt, Ralph Lane, Sir Walter Ralegh, John Smith and Powhatan, and the Puritans. Mackenthun's New Historicist and postcolonial scholarship reveals the verbal and physical translation of empire from New Spain to New England. Her concluding chapter uses gender theory to draw a brilliant connection between the the Puritans' expulsion of Anne Hutchinson and the genocide of the Pequots, whose relationship to the land was seen as dangerously feminine in contrast to the Puritan model of masculine mastery.

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