Ross Gibson (essay date 1984)
SOURCE: Gibson, Ross. “Savages and Slaves: Images of Aborigines.” In The Diminishing Paradise: Changing Literary Perceptions of Australia, pp. 140-94. London: Sirius Books, 1984.
[In the following excerpt, Gibson documents European perceptions of Aborigines during the period 1770 to 1850, noting the prevailing double image of the Aborigine as either a degenerate barbarian or a noble savage.]
Why, a literature might be made out of the aboriginal all by himself … In his history, as preserved by the white man's official records, he is everything—everything that a human creature can be. He covers the entire ground. He is a coward—there are a...
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