Savages and the Philosophical Travelers

Ter Ellingson

in The Myth of the Noble Savage

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520222687
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925922 | DOI:
Savages and the Philosophical Travelers

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This chapter looks at the more complex and interesting task of exploring the works of writers who have been perceived as advocates of positive interpretations of “savage” life, with emphasis on writers on the North American Indian, who continues to represent the paradigm case of the “savage,” moving into the eighteenth century and the period known as the Enlightenment. Among the eighteenth-century writers on the American Indians, those who have attracted the most attention are Lahontan and Lafitau, the latter of whom is perhaps almost stereotypically an Enlightenment scholar in the Foucauldian sense of his tendency toward the “mathesis.” Lahontan, by contrast, continues and expands on the skeptical and critical tendencies that we see so strikingly present in Lescarbot.

Keywords: Enlightenment; savage life; philosophers; North American Indian; Lahontan; Lafitau

Chapter.  6625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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