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Empire, Barbarism, and Civilisation


  • 32 b/w illus. 50 colour illus.
  • Page extent: 270 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.8 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521881944)

The artist William Hodges accompanied Captain Cook on his second voyage to the South Pacific in 1772–5. His extraordinarily vivid images, read against the fascinating journals of Cook and his companions, reveal as much about European cultures and historiography as about the peoples they visited. In this lively and original book, Harriet Guest discusses Hodges's dramatic landscapes and portraits alongside written accounts of the voyages and in the context of the theories of civilisation which shaped European perceptions – theories drawn from the works of philosophers of the Scottish enlightenment such as Adam Smith and John Millar. She argues that the voyagers resorted to diverse or incompatible models of progress in successive encounters with different groups of islanders, and shows how these models also structured metropolitan views of the voyagers and of Hodges's work. This fully illustrated study offers a fresh perspective on eighteenth-century representations of gender, colonialism and exploration.

• Wide-ranging, encompassing literature, culture, art history and the history of exploration • Written by a senior feminist scholar with a new take on colonial history • Richly illustrated with many colour and black-and-white images


Introduction; 1. The great distinction; 2. Curiosity and desire; 3. Curiously marked; 4. Terms of trade in Tonga and Vanuatu; 5. New Zealand colonial romance; 6. Ornament and use in London; Epilogue: the effects of peace and the consequences of war in 1794-5; Bibliography.


'Guest offers a series of fascinating and carefully nuanced readings of textual and visual representations of the South Pacific. … Guest is as acute and informed an art historian as she is a literary critic, and the interdisciplinary approach is one of the book's great strengths. … A truly interdisciplinary study, Empire, Barbarism, and Civilisation should find its way onto the bookshelves and into the bibliographies of historians, art historians, and literary critics of the eighteenth century.' H-Albion

'Guest deftly brings together the often rapidly-changing political background of the late eighteenth century with developments in art, literature and philosophy, exploring their complex interplay. … the Epilogue shows Guest at her finest.' Vanessa Collingridge, University of Glasgow

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