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Abstract

In his article "Cannibalism, Ecocriticism, and Portraying the Journey" Simon C. Estok discusses the ways early modern preoccupation with cannibalism is at once rooted in and reflective of an ecophobic environmental ethics. Looking both at descriptions of metaphoric and literal cannibalism, Estok shows that imagining cannibalism was central to the travel narrative and to its investments in writing the center and the periphery, the human and the nonhuman, the acceptable and the repugnant — binaries which reveal ethical positions, not only toward people, but, more broadly, toward the natural environment. Estok argues that it is relevant to discuss the discourse of cannibalism through an ecocritical perspective because it allows for the analysis of important interconnections of the writing of cannibalism with discourses of race, sexuality, and class. In many ways central to the imagining of "newly discovered" lands, the discourse of cannibalism is thoroughly soaked into the literature of the early modern period, and though cannibalism has long been a topic of literary scholars, little work has yet been done looking at cannibalism from an ecocritical perspective.