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Changing Contexts, Shifting MeaningsTransformations of Cultural Traditions in Oceania$
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Elfriede Hermann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833664

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833664.001.0001

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An Encounter with Violence in Paradise

An Encounter with Violence in Paradise

Georg Forster’s Reflections on War in Aotearoa, Tahiti, and Tonga (1772–1775)

Chapter:
(p.107) An Encounter with Violence in Paradise
Source:
Changing Contexts, Shifting Meanings
Author(s):

Gundolf Krüger

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824833664.003.0007

This chapter focuses on young Georg Forster, who sailed with James Cook on his second voyage between 1772 and 1775. It describes how Forster sought to extract meaning from the material manifestations of violence on Tahiti, Aotearoa, and Tonga; in an age of enlightenment, this meant contextualizing these in the light of culture and political history. In his South Seas portrayals, Forster attempted to capture and communicate the potential of his own self as the foreigner, and he succeeded in never seeing the foreigner as completely different. He discovered the foreigner to be a variety of the self in all his encounters, thereby creating for the reader of his South Seas diary a basis for comprehending the different not as a misunderstood exotic that is simply seen either as an expression of “raw barbarism” or the “high-minded character of a savage.”

Keywords:   Georg Forster, violence, Tahiti, Aotearoa, Tonga, self, foreigner

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