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Title:  Worse Than Beasts: An Anatomy of Melancholy and the Literature of Travel in 17th and 18th Century England Author:  Jennifer Reid Series:  Contexts and Consequences:  New Studies in Religion and History Imprint: The Davies Group, Publishers soft cover 152 pp. USD  18.00  ISBN  978-1888570779 September  2004 Between the mid-sixteenth and eighteenth centuries the colonial English came into contact with the people of five continents. In much of English travel literature, and other literary forms influenced by these accounts, indigenous peoples emerged in notable conformity with one another, despite the vast array of social, ethnic, linguistic and religious differences that characterized the non-European world of the period. Worse Than Beasts explores the development of a particular language of negativity pertaining to non-Europeans in which they were portrayed as subject to the immoderate indulgence of violence and sex, wild speech, and an obsession with trinkets and childlike amusement. The exploration begins and ends in a consideration of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and its melding of two ostensibly different contemporary English discourses. The coincidence in Gulliver’s Travels of classical, medieval and Atlantic era images of non-Europeans, and the presence of madness as a literary motif, is an entré into exploring a two-century-long similar association between madness and foreigners within the English imagination. Contents Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter One: Angry Brutes and Men with Horns Chapter Two: Mad and Foreign “Antipodes” Chapter Three: The Yahoo in the Mirror Notes Bibliography Index Reviews “In this strikingly original book, Jennifer Reid takes us on a journey through identity and alterity in early modern England by bringing together discourses about madness and non-Europeans. Worse Than Beasts merges the most intimate investigations of personal interiority with the most far-flung representations of savage and exotic humans as they appeared in travel narratives . . . Jennifer Reid helps us think in new ways about the recurring colonial thematics of exploring self and others.” — David Chidester “From Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy to Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization, a history of madness and unreason unfolds under the sign of Western civilization. Jennifer Reid’s Worse Than Beasts constitutes an important chapter in this history. Her unique contribution lies in her description and analysis of the travel accounts and imaginative narratives of Western discoverers and explorers in the formulation and formation of our modern conceptions of reason.” — Charles H. Long Author Jennifer Reid received her Ph. D. from the University of Ottawa (Canada). She is associate Professor of Religion at the University of Maine at Farmington. She is author of Myth, Symbol, and Colonial Encounter: British and Mi’kmaq in Acadia, 1700–1867, and editor of Religion and Global Culture: New Terrain in the Study of Religion and the Work of Charles H. Long.
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