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The Transatlantic Indian, 1776-1930$
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Kate Flint

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691203188

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691203188.001.0001

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Savagery and Nationalism: Native Americans and Popular Fiction

Savagery and Nationalism: Native Americans and Popular Fiction

(p.136) Chapter Six Savagery and Nationalism: Native Americans and Popular Fiction
The Transatlantic Indian, 1776-1930

Kate Flint

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores British popular writing. It considers some of the means by which stereotypes of Indians that emanated from the United States circulated within Britain and were modified and filtered through domestic concerns. The chapter first assesses the influence that James Fenimore Cooper had on transatlantic adventure and historical fiction, and then pass to Charles Dickens's often contradictory treatments of native peoples, before looking at the more complicated case of Mayne Reid. This British writer of popular Westerns employed contemporary American-generated stereotypes of Indians and at times reinforced that country's message of manifest destiny, yet he also managed to question certain political and racial aspects of American life in a way that offered up a warning to his home readership. These stereotypes are read through a consideration of the shifting nuances of the idea of the “savage” in mid-Victorian Britain.

Keywords:   British popular writing, stereotypes, Indians, James Fenimore Cooper, transatlantic adventure, Charles Dickens, native peoples, Mayne Reid, manifest destiny, American life

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