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

By Gananath Obeyesekere

During this radical reexamination of the suggestion 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 sessions of ecu touch and colonization, Obeyesekere deconstructs Western eyewitness debts, rigorously reading 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 eu writing that displays even more the realities of eu societies and their fascination with the perform of cannibalism, he argues. And whereas very restricted kinds of cannibalism may have happened in Polynesian societies, they have been mostly in reference to human sacrifice and performed via a choose neighborhood in well-defined sacramental rituals. Cannibal speak considers how the colonial intrusion produced a posh self-fulfilling prophecy wherein the myth of cannibalism turned a fact as natives every now and then 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

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In the kitchens were found skulls in use as bowls or vases. . The Spaniards entered apartments which were veritable human butcher-shops. Heads and limbs of men and women were hung up on the walls or suspended from the rafters, in some instances dripping with blood. . 15 The “cannibal feast” that I will discuss in this book is the culminating appendage to the cannibal scene as it germinates in the European imagination and resurges in the descriptions of the Tupinamba and virtually in every place in which Europe maps the world with savagism.

When this morning it rose and touched the wave, I pushed my shallop from its golden beach and hither sailed before its level rays. ” M steps back to see the effect of his speech while the chiefs converse among themselves. He then “returned to the charge” and, in order to impress them further, adds: “The gentle Yillah was a seraph from the sun; Samoa I had picked off a reef in my route from that orb; and as for the Skyeman [Jarl], why, as his name imported, he came from above. In a word we were all strolling divinities” (M, 148).

This, he said, was all that remained of the body” (Cook D 3, 68). The rest of Cook, they said, was cooked in the Hawaiian fashion and distributed among the king and the chiefs, a mode by which Cook was appropriated into the Hawaiian aristocracy. ” (Cook D 3, 69). Lono is one of the great Hawaiian gods, and we now know that Hawaiians addressed Cook in this fashion. According to myths constructed in London and other cities in Europe and America, this is a reference to the god Lono, now manifest as Cook, who has the perverse habit (normally associated with some of us South Asians believing in reincarnation) of eternally returning after he is dead and gone.

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