The Post-Colonial Noble Savage: A Study of Witi Ihimaera's Fiction

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dc.contributor.advisor Ramsay, R en Napoli, Valentina en 2013-04-14T23:18:48Z en 2012 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the appropriation and reworking of the western literary myth of the Noble Eco-Savage in the fiction of Māori writer Witi Ihimaera. The study of the functions of the adaptation of European myths in Māori writing is relatively unexplored terrain and the reworking of the myth of the Noble Eco- Savage in New Zealand indigenous fiction has attracted little critical attention. The thesis is divided into two parts. The first part, entitled “The Colonial Noble Savage”, identifies western literary and ethnographic texts that contain representations of indigenous peoples as Noble Eco-Savages. The second part, entitled “The Postcolonial Noble Savage”, analyses the different literary responses to, uses of and rewritings of this western myth, as well as the particular stereotypes to which Ihimaera chooses to write back. It asks whether his work is merely a writing back in the sense of seeking to unmask naturalised stereotypes of indigenous peoples or whether it uses the myth of the Noble Savage as an agent of transformation. The thesis argues that Ihimaera’s Noble Savage is a Post-colonial Noble Savage, in the sense that it represents the reaction of an indigenous writer to the colonial Noble Savage, thus to the discourse of colonisation in general. Ihimaera’s Noble Savage interacts with the traditional colonial discourse by attempting to subvert it, rewriting the character of the Noble Savage from an indigenous perspective. This study offers a different perspective for analysing Māori fiction, which challenges the conventional culture-centred approach and suggests instead a textcentred reading—an interpretative strategy that uncovers previously ignored aspects of Ihimaera’s fiction and does justice to its complexity. In revealing the presence of western cultural references and literary traditions in Ihimaera’s fiction, the thesis does not aim to undermine the uniqueness of Māori literature. Rather, it suggests that these cross-cultural encounters and literary borrowings have produced rich and complex new outcomes. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title The Post-Colonial Noble Savage: A Study of Witi Ihimaera's Fiction en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 375923 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2013-04-15 en

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