"The Great Ocean of Knowledge"

The Influence of Travel Literature on the Work of John Locke

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The philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) owned one of the most extensive collections of travel literature held in any private scholarly library of his day. It is an interest which seems very much at odds with Locke's reputation as an empirical philosopher because travellers' reports have acquired a reputation for unreliability. This book sets Locke's use of travel literature within the context of the natural historical methods of investigation associated with Francis Bacon and the Royal Society. It examines the notes he made in his commonplace books to demonstrate that Locke was developing a form of comparative social anthropology and had a sympathetic attitude towards Native Americans despite his role as a colonial adminstrator.
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Biographical Note

Ann Talbot, Ph.D. (2008) in history from University of Bolton, has published a number of articles on Locke and travel literature including, "Locke's Travel Books", Locke Studies, 7, (2007).

Table of contents

Acknowledgement
List of Illustrations

1. Introduction
2. “Fit for our Imitation”: Locke, Sagard and the Huron
3. Locke and the Lapland Witches
4. Merchants of Light: Locke and Utopia
5. Cannibalism and Absolutism
6. From “Stinging Swarms of Miseries” to a State of Equality and Freedom
7. “Beyond the Smoke of their own Chimneys”: Travel Literature and Innate Ideas
8. Travel Literature in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding
9. After the Essay: Travel Literature in the Stillingfleet Controversy
10. “A Great and Civilised People”: Locke, China and Materialism
11. “And Knowledge Shall be Increased”: Bacon, the Royal Society and Travel Literature
12. Making the Eye-Witness Authoritative
13. The Enchanted Glass: Early Modern Ethnography
14. Locke and Postcolonialism
15. Conclusion

Appendices
Bibliography
Index

Readership

This book will be of interest to students of Locke and to those interested in the history of social anthropology or the intellectual history of the early modern period.

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