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Savage Songs & Wild Romances Settler Poetry and the Indigene, 1830-1880 by John O'Leary

Savage Songs & Wild Romances Settler Poetry and the Indigene, 1830-1880

Part of the Cross/Cultures Series


Savage Songs & Wild Romances Settler Poetry and the Indigene, 1830-1880 by John O'Leary

Savage Songs & Wild Romances considers the various types of poetry - from short songs and laments to lengthy ethnographic epics - which nineteenth-century settlers wrote about indigenous peoples as they moved into new territories in North America, South Africa, and Australasia. Drawing on a variety of texts (some virtually unknown), the author demonstrates the range and depth of this verse, suggesting that it exhibited far more interest in, and sympathy for, indigenous peoples than has generally been acknowledged. In so doing, he challenges both the traditional view of this poetry as derivative and eccentric, and more recent postcolonial condemnations of it as racist and imperialist. Instead, he offers a new, more positive reading of this verse, whose openness towards the presence of the indigenous Other he sees as an early expression of the tolerance and cultural relativity characteristic of modern Western society. Writers treated include George Copway, Alfred Domett, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, George McCrae, Thomas Pringle, George Rusden, Lydia Sigourney, and Alfred Street.

About the Author

John O'Leary specializes in the study of settler writing about indigenous peoples. His articles and reviews have appeared in American, British, Australian, and New Zealand scholarly journals; Savage Songs & Wild Romances is his first book. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st January 2011


John O'Leary

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Editions Rodopi B.V. an imprint of Brill


196 pages


Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
Literary studies: poetry & poets



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