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The apotheosis of James Cook : European mythmaking in the Pacific

Author: Gananath Obeyesekere
Publisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press ; Honolulu, Hawaii : Bishop Museum Press, ©1992.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In January 1778 Captain James Cook "discovered" the Hawaiian islands and was hailed by the native peoples as their returning god Lono. On a return trip, after a futile attempt to discover the Northwest Passage, Cook was killed in what modern anthropologists and historians interpret as a ritual sacrifice of the fertility god. Questioning the circumstances surrounding Cook's so-called divinity - or apotheosis - and  Read more...
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Named Person: James Cook; James Cook; James Cook
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gananath Obeyesekere
ISBN: 0691056803 9780691056807
OCLC Number: 54225424
Description: xvii, 251 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Responsibility: Gananath Obeyesekere.

Abstract:

In 1778 Captain Cook "discovered" the Hawaiian Islands and was hailed by the native peoples as their returning god Lono. Questioning the circumstances surrounding Cook's so-called divinity and his  Read more...

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Winner of the 1992 Louis Gottschalk Prize, American Society for Eighteenth-Century StudiesWinner of the 1993 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in History, Association of American Publishers

 
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schema:description"In January 1778 Captain James Cook "discovered" the Hawaiian islands and was hailed by the native peoples as their returning god Lono. On a return trip, after a futile attempt to discover the Northwest Passage, Cook was killed in what modern anthropologists and historians interpret as a ritual sacrifice of the fertility god. Questioning the circumstances surrounding Cook's so-called divinity - or apotheosis - and his death, Gananath Obeyesekere debunks one of the most enduring myths of imperialism, civilization, and conquest: the notion that the Western civilizer is a god to savages. Through a close reexamination of Cook's grueling final voyage, his increasingly erratic behavior, his strained relations with the Hawaiians, and the violent death he met at their hands, Obeyesekere rewrites an important segment of British and Hawaiian history in a way that challenges Eurocentric views of non-Western cultures. The discrepancies between Cook the legend and the person come alive in a narrative based on shipboard journals and logs kept by the captain and his officers. In these accounts Obeyesekere sees Cook as both the self-conscious civilizer and as the person who, his mission gone awry, becomes a "savage" himself - during the last voyage it was Cook's destructive side that dominated. After examining various versions of the "Cook myth," the author argues that the Hawaiians did not apotheosize the captain but revered him as a chief on par with their own. The blurring of conventional distinctions between history, hagiography, and myth, Obeyesekere maintains, requires us to examine the presuppositions that go into the writing of history and anthropology."@en
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