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Chapter 3 - The Black Legend, Noble Savagery and Indigenous Voice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2019

Bridget Orr
Affiliation:
Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
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Summary

English Enlightenment dramas set in the new world frequently depicted European oppression; from John Dennis’s Liberty Asserted (1704) through Aaron Hill’s Alzira (1736) to Arthur Murphy’s Alzuma (1767), playwrights present actions highly critical of European colonialism. These plays put indigenous critiques of European invasion into circulation, drawing on and rearticulating the writing of Incan Garcilaso de la Vega and Adario, Lahontan’s interlocutor in his famous Dialogue. Rather than regarding such discourse as European projection, I argue that the voices of protesting Incas and Mohawks be recognized as “energumen” or discourse of the other, whose critiques of empire, slavery and forced conversion shaped the development of progressive thought in Europe.

Type
Chapter
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British Enlightenment Theatre
Dramatizing Difference
, pp. 113 - 153
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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