The recognition of Caliban's monstrosity is artfully staged within the comic subplot of the "Tempest" in a scene saturated with grotesque, farcical elements (the caricatural register, the insistence upon bodily features, the equivocation and ambiguity in both Trinculo and Stephano's words and gestures). Thus, Caliban ironically comes to the fore as the contradictory embodiment of two different figures of otherness: on the one hand, the colonial exotic representation of the other (other in terms of race and culture), recurrent in the concomitant travel literature on the New World; on the other the Medieval tradition of the socalled 'wodewose' or 'wild man' (other in terms of social status, class and behaviour) still deeply rooted in the local folklore and popular culture. The paper aims to explore the 'delicate' balance between these two paradigms of monstrosity in a variety of travel narratives, from the striking cultural relativism of Mandeville's "Travels" to the travel literature of the early modern age that gradually emerged as 'the prose epic of the modern English nation', in which figurations of monstrosity become crucial to the emerging national/colonial project - and as such precariously oscillate between a renewed attention to ethnographic 'true' reports and 'bare facts', and an increasing literary/cultural market more and more interested in the 'commodification of difference'.

"'Unsettled' Islands and 'Delicate' Grotesques”

LAUDANDO, Carmela Maria
2007

Abstract

The recognition of Caliban's monstrosity is artfully staged within the comic subplot of the "Tempest" in a scene saturated with grotesque, farcical elements (the caricatural register, the insistence upon bodily features, the equivocation and ambiguity in both Trinculo and Stephano's words and gestures). Thus, Caliban ironically comes to the fore as the contradictory embodiment of two different figures of otherness: on the one hand, the colonial exotic representation of the other (other in terms of race and culture), recurrent in the concomitant travel literature on the New World; on the other the Medieval tradition of the socalled 'wodewose' or 'wild man' (other in terms of social status, class and behaviour) still deeply rooted in the local folklore and popular culture. The paper aims to explore the 'delicate' balance between these two paradigms of monstrosity in a variety of travel narratives, from the striking cultural relativism of Mandeville's "Travels" to the travel literature of the early modern age that gradually emerged as 'the prose epic of the modern English nation', in which figurations of monstrosity become crucial to the emerging national/colonial project - and as such precariously oscillate between a renewed attention to ethnographic 'true' reports and 'bare facts', and an increasing literary/cultural market more and more interested in the 'commodification of difference'.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11574/39806
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