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The Myth of the Noble Savage - California Scholarship Online
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The Myth of the Noble Savage

Ter Ellingson


In this study, the myth of the Noble Savage is an altogether different myth from the one defended or debunked by others over the years. That the concept of the Noble Savage was first invented by Rousseau in the mid-eighteenth century in order to glorify the “natural” life is easily refuted. The myth which persists is that there was ever, at any time, widespread belief in the nobility of savages. The fact is, as this book shows, the humanist eighteenth century actually avoided the term because of its association with the feudalist-colonialist mentality that had spawned it 150 years earlier. The ... More

Keywords: Noble Savage, Rousseau, myth, John Crawfurd, savage nobility, human rights, racial equality

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780520222687
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520222687.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ter Ellingson, author

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