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Wild Man from BorneoA Cultural History of the Orangutan$
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Robert Cribb, Helen Gilbert, and Helen Tiffin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824837143

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824837143.001.0001

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Imagining Orangutans

Imagining Orangutans

Fictions, Fantasies, Futures

(p.107) 5 Imagining Orangutans
Wild Man from Borneo

Robert Cribb

Helen Gilbert

Helen Tiffin

University of Hawai'i Press

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.

Keywords:   orangutan, public displays, Daniel Beeckman, Edward Tyson, Jacobus Bontius, Nicolaes Tulp, fiction writers, literate elite

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