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Light in GermanyScenes from an Unknown Enlightenment$
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T. J. Reed

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226205106

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226205243.001.0001

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Cosmopolitan Quandaries

Cosmopolitan Quandaries

Among Savages, Far and Near

(p.77) Chapter 5 Cosmopolitan Quandaries
Light in Germany

T.J. Reed

University of Chicago Press

The work of Georg Forster is a sobering example of Enlightenment principles being tested against the contemporary world—across the globe on Captain Cook’s second circumnavigation, where Europeans met and clashed with Pacific islanders, and in the turmoil of the French Revolution, into which Forster was pitched as the chosen representative of Mainz, now annexed to France. In both phases of his extraordinary career, ideals struggle with harsh realities, first with colonialist attitudes, then with murderous factional politics. Where was the benevolent movement of history?

Keywords:   Georg Forster, circumnavigation, Captain Cook, Islanders, anthropology, colonialism, French Revolution, Mainz, In-fighting

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