The Apotheosis of Captain Cook
European Mythmaking in the Pacific
With a new afterword by the author
Here Gananath Obeyesekere debunks one of the most enduring myths of imperialism, civilization, and conquest: the notion that the Western civilizer is a god to savages. Using shipboard journals and logs kept by Captain James Cook and his officers, Obeyesekere reveals the captain as both the self-conscious civilizer and as the person who, his mission gone awry, becomes a "savage" himself.
In this new edition of The Apotheosis of Captain Cook, the author addresses, in a lengthy afterword, Marshall Sahlins's 1994 book, How "Natives" Think, which was a direct response to this work.
Gananath Obeyesekere is Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. His many books include The Work of Culture: Symbolic Transformation in Psychoanalysis and Anthropology and, with Richard Gombrich, Buddhism Transformed: Religious Change in Sri Lanka (Princeton).