Cover image for Captive selves, captivating others : the politics and poetics of colonial American captivity narratives
Captive selves, captivating others : the politics and poetics of colonial American captivity narratives
Strong, Pauline Turner, 1953-
Publication Information:
Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvii, 261 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.
Reading Level:
1580 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS173.I6 S78 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This book reexamines the Anglo-American literary genre known as the "Indian captivity narrative" in the context of the complex historical practice of captivity across cultural borders in colonial North America. This detailed and nuanced study of the relationship between practice and representation on the one hand and identity and alterity on the other is an important contribution to cultural studies, American studies, Native American studies, women's studies, and historical anthropology.

Author Notes

Pauline Turner Strong is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Strong (anthropology, Univ. of Texas, Austin) carefully examines the culturally complex and often divergent views of captivity held by Native American peoples and Europeans and later Euro-Americans. The first three chapters deal with famous Indian captives, for instance Pocahontas, as well as early white captives who did not leave formal captivity narratives (e.g., John Smith). The author's interdisciplinary approach provides interesting commentary as to why the two cultures' negotiations for a middle ground failed. The remaining four chapters, though still attentive to Indian interpretations of captivity, focus more on white perceptions of captivity--perceptions that, to some degree, helped whites reaffirm their own cultural parameters rather than, with a few exceptions, negotiate for a middle ground in these spiritual, secular, and political narratives. The analysis of a range of representative texts will help readers who have not read widely in the captivity genre and Colonial literature. The extensive bibliography and the chapter notes are very helpful. In short, Strong's study of captivity is an excellent example of the new, interdisciplinary scholarship being done in regard to the relationship of Native Americans and Europeans/Euro-Americans. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty in several disciplines. B. Hans; University of North Dakota

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Figuresp. ix
Chronology of Events, 1576-1776p. xi
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
A Note on the Textp. xvii
1 Introduction: Captivity As Convergent Practice and Selective Traditionp. 1
Identity, Alterity, and the Process of Typificationp. 3
Scholarly Traditions of Captivityp. 9
The Politics and Poetics of Captivity: An Overviewp. 13
Notesp. 15
2 Indian Captives, English Captors, 1576-1622p. 19
European Devourers and Their Preyp. 20
Kidnapping Tokens and Informants: Frobisher's Inuit Captivesp. 23
Capturing Allies and Enemies: Tisquantum, Alias Squantop. 32
Notesp. 37
3 Captivity and Hostage-Exchange in Powhatan's Domain, 1607-1624p. 43
A Christian for a Savage: The Middle Ground of Hostage-Exchangep. 43
The Captivity and Transformation of John Smithp. 48
The Captivity and Typification of Pocahontasp. 63
Captivity, Conquest, and Resistancep. 70
Notesp. 71
4 The Politics and Poetics of Captivity in New England, 1620-1682p. 77
Indigenous and Convergent Captivity Practicesp. 78
Metacom's War, Wetamo's Grievances, and the Captivity of Mary Rowlandsonp. 83
Wilderness Trials: A Gentlewoman's Conversion Narrativep. 96
Captivity, Servitude, and Authorityp. 103
Notesp. 106
5 Seduction, Redemption, and the Typification of Captivity, 1675-1707p. 115
To Live Like Heathen: The Two Hannahsp. 118
Texts Written in Blood: Cotton Mather and the Production of Meaningp. 128
Redeemed and Unredeemed Captives: John and Eunice Williamsp. 135
Typification, Subordination, and the Limits of Hegemonyp. 143
Notesp. 145
6 Captive Ethnographers, 1699-1736p. 151
Shared Substance, Shared Light: The Dickinson and Hanson Narrativesp. 152
Manners and Customs: The Transculturated Captivep. 166
Notesp. 172
7 Captivity and Colonial Structures of Feeling, 1744-1776p. 177
Providence and Sentiment in the Mid-Eighteenth Centuryp. 178
Horrifying Matters of Fact: The Production of Savagery and Heroismp. 192
Conclusion: The Selective Tradition of Captivityp. 200
Notesp. 206
Appendix Bibliography of British and British Colonial Captivity Narratives, 1682-1776p. 211
Referencesp. 219
Indexp. 253