Wrecked in the Pacific: The Self-Fashioned Identity of the British from Captain Cook to R. L. Stevenson

Title
Wrecked in the Pacific: The Self-Fashioned Identity of the British from Captain Cook to R. L. Stevenson
Author(s)
길혜령
Keywords
beachcomber; British superiority; Captain Cook’s voyages; Pacific mission and trade; R. L. Stevenson
Issue Date
201502
Publisher
19세기영어권문학회
Citation
19세기 영어권 문학, v.19, no.1, pp.215 - 245
Abstract
This essay, briefly examining British Pacific literature from the times of Captain Cook to R. L. Stevenson, explores how British identity or superiority was forged from the British’s own writing about the Pacific, finally facing self-destruction in Stevenson’s work. The superiority of British civilization and Christianity, which was in fact claimed through the power of fire arms in the British’s very first encounter with the Pacific people, and sustained throughout most of the nineteenth century in the period of trade imperialism, proves to be difficult to maintain in the era of “new” imperialism, highlighting civilization and Christianity instead of trade. In the first place, the identification of Britishness with civilization/Christianity was marred by “Secret Instructions” given to Cook to seek out trade, which inevitably led him to adapt to a degree to the Pacific culture. The British’s initial adaptation and more complete assimilation to the native culture—observed in beachcombers since the Bounty mutiny—which contributed to British Pacific trade, did not pose a threat to the concept of British superiority as long as trade was a major concern in British activities in the Pacific. Only when did the concern need to be readjusted to civilization/Christianity in the late nineteenth century, while trade was still the major one in reality, the initial conflict between them surfaced, finally rendering the idea of British superiority wrecked, as suggested in Stevenson’s The Ebb-Tide.
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/YU.REPOSITORY/33281
ISSN
1598-3269
Appears in Collections:
기초교육대학 > 교양학부 > Articles
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