Colonial Encounters in New World Writing, 1500-1786: Performing America
This pioneering study examines the extraordinary proliferation of polyphonic or "multi-voiced" texts in the three centuries following the first ... Show synopsis This pioneering study examines the extraordinary proliferation of polyphonic or "multi-voiced" texts in the three centuries following the first contact between Europeans and indigenous peoples of the Americas. These plays, printed dialogues, travel narratives, and lexicographic studies, in English, Spanish and French, reverberate with a cacophony of voices as both European and indigenous writers of the early Americas stage the interaction of their cultures. Paying particular attention to performance and performativity in the texts of the early colonial world, Susan Castillo asks: - why vast numbers of polyphonic and performative texts emerged in the Early Americas - how these texts enabled explorers, settlers, and indigenous groups to come to terms with radical differences in language, behavior, and cultural practices - how dialogues, plays, and paratheatrical texts were used to impose or resist ideologies and cultural norms - how performance and polyphony allowed Europeans and Americansto debate exactly what it meant to be European or American or, in some cases, both. Tracing the dynamic enactment of (often conflictive) encounters between differing local narratives, Castillo presents polyphonic texts not only as a singularly useful tool for exploring what initially seemed inexpressible or for conveying controversial ideas, but also, crucially, as the site where cultural difference is negotiated. Offering unprecedented linguistic and historical range, through the analysis of texts from Spain, France, New Spain, Peru, Brazil, New England and New France, her volume is an important advance in the study of early American literature and the writings of colonialencounter.