Chapter

Introduction

Fiona J. Stafford

in The Last of the Race

Published in print June 1994 | ISBN: 9780198112228
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670718 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112228.003.0001
Introduction

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This book analyses the long-lasting interest in the last of the race, focusing on literary expressions and taking into account the contents of diaries, historical accounts, and newspaper reports about those known to be the last of their race, or the sole survivor. The different treatments made by writers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are examined. The author refers to the last of the race as ‘myth’, owing to the lack of other sufficiently fluid and all-encompassing terms. The phrase consists of contradictory ideas, and the terms ‘idea’ and ‘theme’ seem inadequate. Some of the works in this book are not ‘mythic’, owing to the entry of the story or characters into popular culture and their achieving a life that is independent of the original texts. All the works here, however, have made a contribution to the collective myth of the last of the race.

Keywords: race; myth; literary expressions; sole survivor

Chapter.  5672 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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