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Title: European representations of the New World in travel narratives and literature, late-fifteenth to mid-seventeenth centuries
Author: Brennan, Rosamund Elaine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 4316
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2006
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The thesis proposes that the point of first encounter with the New World constituted an irruption of the real into European cultural reality, and provides an example of the process by which the real (in Lacanian terms, the terrain of unmapped alterity outside the symbolic order with no cultural script) becomes incorporated within cultural reality. Unlike death, another instance of the real, the New World offered travellers the possibility of return and revelation, and, once experienced by explorers, the actuality of the New World had to be articulated: reality was constructed. The thesis examines a selection of fifteenth- to seventeenth-century European travel narratives and literary texts within the broadly Lacanian theoretical framework suggested by Catherine Belsey's Culture and the Real, the methodological approach follows Belsey's practice of reading cultural history 'at the level of the signifier'. Chapter one examines, in accounts of Columbus, Vespucci and Pigafetta, the inauguration of the New World as a locus of European material and spiritual desire differential constructions of the native and intertextual links with earlier travel literature. Chapter two focuses on the English cultural mapping of the real of the Americas in accounts of Francis Drake's circumnavigation, arguing that new types of cultural script are developed, including a model for English colonialism. Chapter three examines textual constructions of domesticated reality on the borders of the real, in accounts of the first English settlement at Roanoke, and Jean de Lery's account of living in Brazil. Chapter four argues that, while each of the fictions discussed has intertextual links to first-hand travel narratives, the European signifier defers the materiality of the New World, using the space to explore possibilities for European culture. Texts discussed include Layfield's account of Puerto Rico, More's Utopia, Shakespeare's The Tempest, and Beaumont and Fletcher's The Sea Voyage. Chapter five comprises a short conclusion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available