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Engraving the Savage

Engraving the Savage: The New World and Techniques of Civilization

Michael Gaudio
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Engraving the Savage
    Book Description:

    In this innovative analysis, Michael Gaudio explains how popular engravings of Native American Indians defined the nature of Western civilization by producing an image of its “savage other.” Going beyond the notion of the “savage” as an intellectual and ideological construct, Gaudio examines how the tools, materials, and techniques of copperplate engraving shaped Western responses to indigenous peoples.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5653-0
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: White Pebbles in the Dark Forest
    (pp. ix-xxvi)

    This book is about what Michel de Certeau eloquently terms “white pebbles in the dark forest.” These pebbles can be found scattered throughout numerous early modern volumes (those of Léry, Thévet, de Bry, and many others) that describe the customs and habits of the “savages” of America, volumes in which our eyes jump from pages dense and congested with type to settle on the luminous presence of the image. Paging through Jean de Léry’sHistoire d’un voyage faict en la terre du Brésil(1578;History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil), for example, one halts at the full-page...

  5. 1. Savage Marks The Scriptive Techniques of Early Modern Ethnography
    (pp. 1-44)

    Designed to encourage investment in Sir Walter Raleigh’s Virginia colony, Harriot’sReportis organized into three parts. It begins with about thirty pages of text by Harriot that evaluate Virginia’s mercantile and colonial prospects and then go on to describe the “nature and manners of the people of the countrey.” The second part, “the true pictures and fashions of the people” of Virginia, consists of a series of ethnographic images engraved in de Bry’s Frankfurt workshop (mostly by de Bry himself), and for the most part based directly on watercolor drawings by John White. The final section of theReport...

  6. 2. Making Sense of Smoke: Engraving and Ornament in de Bry’s America
    (pp. 45-86)

    In the previous chapter I looked for traces of the scriptive techniques that produce the savage body; in this chapter, I turn my attention from the instruments of inscription to the engraved line itself. John Ruskin’s remarks on the proper ends of engraving provide an appropriate starting point. Lecturing at Oxford in 1872 on the subject of wood and metal engraving, Ruskin declares that the art of the engraver is first and foremost a meaningless activity—it is, quite simply, the decorating or ornamenting of a metal plate with lines. In calling his audience’s attention to the materiality of the...

  7. 3. Flatness and Protuberance: Reforming the Image in Protestant Print Culture
    (pp. 87-126)

    This chapter will explore the place of the idol in early modern ethnography. Specifically, my concern is with engraved representations of image worship within a project, both descriptive and comparative, that aspired to make Native American religion into an object of scientific inquiry. The issues at stake in this investigation will ultimately hinge on the body of Christ, for the problem that body presented to an early modern scientific culture gripped by a Calvinist antimaterialism was the problem of religion’s visibility.

    “In the Middle Ages,” writes Gerhart Ladner, “the central tenet of Christian theology was also the greatest justification of...

  8. 4. The Art of Scratch: Wood Engraving and Picture-Writing in the 1880s
    (pp. 127-166)

    Consider two reproductions, both published in American periodicals within twenty-five years of each another. The first, John White’s watercolor drawing ofThe Flyer,was reproduced inCentury Magazinein 1882 in the first of a series of articles on colonial American history by historian and novelist Edward Eggleston (Figure 59). The second, a drawing by the same artist titledOne of their Religious men,was reproduced inPutnam’s Monthlyin 1907 in the article “Governor John White: Painter and Virginian Pioneer,” which was written by British art historian and poet Laurence Binyon (Figure 60). Both images convey similar visual information....

  9. Notes
    (pp. 167-200)
  10. Index
    (pp. 201-207)