Fictions, Fantasies, Futures
This chapter shows how, during the eighteenth century, the orangutan began to appear in plays and novels, and later in short stories. Most of the early authors had not seen an orangutan, even in captivity, but the writings of travelers such as Daniel Beeckman and of scientists such as Edward Tyson were so widely circulated, the illustrations of Jacobus Bontius and Nicolaes Tulp so often redrawn, and public displays of orangutan-like creatures so common that a knowledge of the term “orangutan” and a sense of what it stood for was widespread within the literate elite of western Europe by the second half of the eighteenth century.
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