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Savagism and Civilization: A Study of the Indian and the American Mind [Paperback]

Roy Harvey Pearce

Price: CDN$ 30.37 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Nov. 28 2001
Pearce presents a study of the concept of savagism as reflected in the American writings on Indians that appeared in political pamphlets, drama, poetry, and other writings.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (Nov. 28 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080186996X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801869969
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,494,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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THE RENAISSANCE Englishmen who became Americans were sustained by an idea of order. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A view of the distant and not so distant past June 27 2006
By Steven Osborne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an interesting book. Pearce does a good job in compiling cultural information related to the meeting of Western culture and indigenous American societies. However, it is difficult to differentiate between the author's voice and his citations: does he agree with the sources which he quotes?

Outside of his citations, Pearce continues to use the words "savages," "primitive," along with many other derogatory terms. Often, I found myself having to re-read a passage to see where his quotation ended and his commentary began.

Positive aspects:

1. A great compilation of documentation relating to Western and Native American cultural interaction;

2. Well written (Note, see the caveat below) and concise;

Negative aspects:

1. Caveat: Although well written, the difficulty distinguishing his voice from his citations makes one wonder if he agrees with the citations' sentiments;

When this was written (in the 1950's), Native Americans still had a social stigma attached to them. Because of that, I think that you not only get a good feel for Western beliefs at the beginning of this country, but, also of the author's time, as well, which is the reason for this review's title. If you want an accurate view from the Western culture's perspective concerning Native Americans from the earliest meetings to the author's time, then this is an excellent book.

I rate it 4 stars out of 5 due to the difficulty in distinguishing the author's voice, if difficulty it truly is; I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt about his own beliefs concerning Native Americans.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential work on American literature Nov. 24 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Any discussion of American literature should include how the American Indian is imagined in it. I say "imagined" because there is little that is accurate about American Indians in American literature until the 20th century, and then the accuracy is found mostly from American Indian authors. The American Indian we encounter in most American literature is an iconic figure, either Noble Savage or Ignoble Savage, whose purpose is to help American writers work out their psychological and national fantasies. Pearce traces the development of this icon, the literary convention of the Indian, and he is perhaps the first to do this (publishing this book in the 1950s).
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical and literary overview Feb. 19 2013
By gus palmer, jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fine, historical and literary work. I would recommend this book for anybody who is inquiring seriously into American Indians and Euro-American relations.

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