“We Savages”: Cannibal Performances in the Marquesas

  • Carla Manfredi
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


This chapter highlights Stevenson’s fascination with the colonial discourse that represented Marquesans as fierce “cannibals.” The chapter discusses In the South Seas and “The Feast of Famine: Marquesan Manners” alongside photographs depicting so-called savages and cannibals. The chapter situates Stevenson’s representation of the Marquesas within European conceptions of “cannibalism” as a Gothic trope, but it argues that imaginary and threatened “cannibalism” served as a bulwark against colonial violence. In addition to the topic of “cannibalism,” which structures the chapter, the case studies examine photographs depicting the relationships between a dispossessed chief named Moipu, his rival Paaaeua, and Lloyd Osbourne. The photographs are contextualized within Marquesan notions of kinship and name exchange and serve as potent examples of the clash between cultural performance and colonial ideology.



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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla Manfredi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WinnipegWinnipegCanada

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