An exploration of the literary strategies that made Captain Cook a hero.
While Captain James Cook's South Pacific voyages have been extensively studied, much less attention has been paid to his representation of the Pacific Northwest. In Constructing Colonial Discourse, Noel Elizabeth Currie focuses on the month Cook spent at Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island in 1778 during his third Pacific voyage. Comparing the official 1784 edition of that voyage with Cook's journal account (made available in the scholarly edition prepared by New Zealand scholar J.C. Beaglehole), Currie demonstrates that the representation of North America's northwest coast in the late eighteenth century was shaped as much by the publication process as by British notions of landscape, natural history, cannibalism, and history in the new world. Most recent scholarship critiques imperialist representations of the non-European world while taking these published accounts at face value.
Constructing Colonial Discourse combines close textual analysis with the insights of postcolonial theory to critique the discursive and rhetorical strategies by which the official account of the third voyage transformed Cook into an imperial hero.