Hans Staden’s True History Reviewed in London Review of Books

Cannibals
The London Review of Books features a review of Hans Staden's True History: An Account of Cannibal Captivity in Brazil. (The full review is not available for non-subscribers on the LRB's website, but author John Elliott provides the full text here.) The book will be published in August. Staden's 1557 account of his captivity by Brazil's Tupi Indians has not been available in English since 1929. Duke's new translation includes an introduction by noted anthropologist Neil L. Whitehead. Elliott writes of the original: "[Staden's] account proved to be immensely influential in shaping the European
vision of America, not only because of the gripping story it told, but
also because, when it was published in Marburg in 1557, it was
accompanied by 56 crude woodcut illustrations, all reproduced in this
new edition. As Whitehead comments, these illustrations, which move in
unison with the narrative, add enormously to the effectiveness of the
text. But it was the reworking of 28 of them in copperplate engravings
by Theodor de Bry that implanted the image of the Brazilian cannibal
indelibly in the European consciousness, even though it deprived the
illustrations of part of their context and immediacy."

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s