Feb 22 French lecture series at Macalester College

Cathy Yandell, W. I. and Hulda F. Daniell Professor of French Literature, Language, and Culture and Chair of the Deparment of French and Franocphone Studies at Carleton College will present “Nudity and Cannibalism in the New World: Jean de Léry's Histoire d'un voyage” on Monday, February 22 at 4:45 PM in Neill Hall 401.

In recounting his travels to Brazil in 1557-58, Jean de Léry employs bodily images, notably those of nudity and cannibalism, to advance a particular vision of the Tupinambá tribe in the minds of his readers, and to shed light on his own French culture by direct and implied analogies. Through the use of particular cognitive strategies, Léry seeks to advance his own moral position, which is all the more compelling given the backdrop of the Wars of Religion in France. In the Protestant Léry’s description, native anthropophagy proves to be more easily explicable than is Catholic cannibalism (communion). Did Léry’s largely sympathetic depiction of Tupinambán bodies and practices in these early days of exploration contribute to certain ways of thinking about otherness that eventually characterized the French colonial enterprise?

Cathy Yandell is the author of Carpe Corpus: Time and Gender in Early Modern France (2000) and co-editor of Vieillir à la Renaissance (with Colette Winn, 2009) and Memory and Community in Sixteenth-Century France (with David LaGuardia, 2015), she has published articles on dialogue, gender, the body, sexuality, and visual culture in such authors as Ronsard, Catherine des Roches, and Montaigne. Her current project examines ways of knowing and learning through the body from Rabelais to Descartes.
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