Narratives of the Self: Chevalier Peter Dillon’s Fijian Cannibal Adventures

Gananath Obeyesekere

in Cannibal Talk

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520243071
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938311 | DOI:
Narratives of the Self: Chevalier Peter Dillon’s Fijian Cannibal Adventures

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This chapter focuses on Peter Dillon, who, on September 6, 1813, presented an eyewitness description of a cannibal feast that has not been surpassed in its detail before or since. Dillon was the author of a two-volume work on his search in Vonikoro on the Santa Cruz Islands for the remains of La Pérouse's ships, which were lost in the South Pacific in 1788. The first chapter of this work provided an eyewitness description of the preparation, cooking, and consumption of European and native enemies at a Fijian cannibal feast. Before proceeding to Dillon's narrative of his self, the chapter introduces the readers to the events leading up to the cannibal feast presented in Chapter 3 of Davidson's biography of Dillon, The Path to “Dillon's Rock.” After discussing these events, the chapter then examines parts of Dillon's text to demonstrate his self-valorization, as he represents his adventures in the first person. It discusses Dillon's construction of a heroic role for himself and posterity.

Keywords: Peter Dillon; cannibal feast; Fijian cannibal feast; Dillon's Rock; self-valorization; heroic role

Chapter.  13976 words.  Illustrated.

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