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Maori in Europe: Ruin Gazing and Scopic Mastery

Maori in Europe: Ruin Gazing and Scopic Mastery

(p.230) Twelve Maori in Europe: Ruin Gazing and Scopic Mastery
The Conquest of Ruins
Julia Hell
University of Chicago Press

Chapter twelve concludes part three with an in-depth discussion of the emergence of the ruin gazer scenario and the figure of the barbarian in the modern age. The author thickens her analysis of neo-Roman scenes of ruin contemplation by putting the accent on the conqueror’s drive for scopic mastery. As she revisits the authors and artists discussed in part three, she returns to the iconic figure of the Maori and retraces the scenario’s theater-like structure. Further exploring the scopic nature of modern ruin scenes, the author moves from Goebbels’s appropriation of Diderot’s fictional Tahitian Orou to the analysis of Emil Nolde’s New Guinea Savages and Gustave Doré’s The New Zealander, and finally, to Thomas Cole’s The Course of Empire: Desolation. The chapter concludes with thoughts about non-European traditions of contemplative ruin scenes.

Keywords:   ruin gazer scenarios, scopic structure, scopic mastery, modern barbarian, Gustave Doré, New Zealander, Thomas Cole, Course of Empire, Emil Nolde, New Guinea Savages

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