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Cannibal TalkThe Man-Eating Myth and Human Sacrifice in the South Seas$
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Gananath Obeyesekere

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520243071

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520243071.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Cannibal Feasts in Nineteenth-Century Fiji: Seamen’s Yarns and the Ethnographic Imagination

Cannibal Feasts in Nineteenth-Century Fiji: Seamen’s Yarns and the Ethnographic Imagination

(p.151) Six Cannibal Feasts in Nineteenth-Century Fiji: Seamen’s Yarns and the Ethnographic Imagination
Cannibal Talk

Gananath Obeyesekere

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on nineteenth-century Fiji. It discusses its anthropophagy, its cannibalism, and its political developments in the early nineteenth century. The first section of the chapter discusses the metaphysics of savagism. The second section discusses Fijian cannibalism, focusing on eye-witnesses of anthropophagy-cannibalism. It looks at John Jackson and William Endicott, who described cannibal feasts so persuasively that their accounts were regarded as “unimpeachable testimony” of the truth of Fijian cannibalism. In this section, the narratives of the two writers are ridded of their “unimpeachable” nature and regarded as fictional narratives based on the tradition of yarning of ships and islands. The third section of the chapter investigates whether Henry Fowler confirmed he was the author of the Danvers Courier, which was believed to have been written by Endicott. The fourth section focuses on the cannibal narratives of John Jackson. It discusses his books, Jack, the Cannibal Killer and Cannibal Jack. The fifth section of the chapter tackles yarning and narrative fiction in John Jackson's adventures. It discusses the beginnings of adventure stories whose imaginary locale is an idyllic island in the South Seas where Englishmen thwart cannibalism and savagery and exemplify in their own lives Evangelical morality and the “message of the empire.”

Keywords:   nineteenth-century Fiji, anthropophagy, cannibalism, metaphysics of savagism, Fijian cannibalism, John Jackson, William Endicott, yarning

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