0 16 1 - 17 2013

Half Fish, Half Monster: Shakespeare’s Caliban and the Performance of Natural History

Christopher Leslie

Abstract


Starting around the time of Shakespeare’s birth, a group of naturalists engaged in a collective enterprise to enumerate and distinguish strange varieties in the new world, including what were thought to be monsters and supernatural beings. Although this controversy would lead to the idea that human races were distinct species in the nineteenth century, considering The Tempest in the context of natural history demonstrates that the development of scientific racism was far from inevitable.

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ISSN 1749-9771