Introduction: Grand, Ungodly, Godlike Men

Geoffrey Sanborn

in Whipscars and Tattoos

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199751693
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894819 | DOI:
Introduction: Grand, Ungodly, Godlike Men

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This chapter establishes the framework for the subsequent analysis by showing that Maori men were generally admired by both Europeans and Americans in the early nineteenth century for the intensity of their pride and the forcefulness of their defiance. In a history of the discourse on the Maori that draws on an extremely wide range of published and unpublished documents, this chapter shows that even characteristics which were coded negatively in most other circumstances, like cannibalism, were frequently palliated or treated as signs of potential greatness. What tied together the vast majority of these appreciative responses, the chapter argues, was not colonialist self-interest—although that was indeed an important factor in Great Britain after 1830—but a status-oriented and often republican form of masculinism.

Keywords: Maori; masculinity; status; cannibalism

Chapter.  6235 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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