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Title: Postcards From Tahiti: Images Of The Other From William Hodges To Pierre Loti And Paul Gauguin
Authors: Ferraris-Besso, Caroline
Keywords: Tahiti
Paul Gauguin
Pierre Loti
William Hodges
Henri Lebeau
Issue Date: 31-Jan-2012
Abstract: This dissertation considers the making of the Tahitian other through verbal and pictorial images. My interdisciplinary analysis is grounded in the productive use of concepts such as framing and mise-en-scène. Taking as an example accounts of the first landing in Tahiti, I argue that, after the end of the eighteenth century, the status of images in travel relations changes: from allegorical or ornamental to realist or truthful. This change is concomitant with a turn within cultural anthropology, which displaces the other from absolute stranger to merely different, ultimately giving birth to the figure of the métèque (foreigner). Following this insight, I formulate an aesthetic theory for Loti and Gauguin, that envisions them as making verbal and pictorial images eroticizing, depersonalizing, and marginalizing, as had already been observed about colonial postcards of Algeria by Malek Alloula in his Harem Colonial. Informed both by key anthropological and sociological texts (Goffman, Lévy-Bruhl) and the technical-historical context (the emergence of photographs and postcards), I closely analyze the works of Loti and Gauguin in order to demonstrate that what is at stake in their use of words and images actually goes beyond the literary or artistic frame, as each author develops different strategies to cope with the replacement of the Other by the different. Loti's obsession with self-portraits and his re-creation of a colonial empire in his Rochefort house, and Gauguin's repeated motifs from Brittany to Polynesia, I suggest, are just so many responses to loss.
Committee Chair: Dubreuil, Laurent
Committee Member: Melas, Natalie Anne-Marie
Berger, Anne Emanuelle
Discipline: Romance Studies
Degree Name: Ph.D. of Romance Studies
Degree Level: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Grantor: Cornell University
No Access Until: 2017-06-01
Appears in Collections:Cornell Theses and Dissertations

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