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

  • Christopher Leslie Polytechnic Institute of New York University


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.

Author Information

Christopher Leslie, Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Christopher Leslie is an Instructor of Media, Science and Technology Studies at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in Brooklyn, New York, where he is codirector of the Science and Technology Studies program. He took his doctorate from the City University of New York Graduate Center in English with a certificate in American Studies.
How to Cite
Leslie, Christopher. 2013. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, no. 16 (June), 1 - 17. Accessed May 24, 2018. http://www.forumjournal.org/article/view/519.
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