Land-Seizing Language: Rhetoric's Claim to Territory in English Writing of the New World
MetadataShow full item record
England sent its first party of settlers to New World Virginia in 1585, but it wasn't until 1607 that the budding empire founded Jamestown - the first lasting colony on the continent, following 22 years of failure to occupy the territory. In absence of physical ownership of the land, how to do the narratives that emerge out of the New World during this period attempt to assert a rhetorical claim to it? To answer this question, this thesis analyzes the writing of New World authors Smith, White, Lane, and Harlot. I've investigated the existence of the following through close reading analysis in order to pinpoint rhetorical strategies that assert possession: a) the binding of space in the New World into definable place through the theory of space and place and the practice of"narrational cartography''; b) Edenic tropes to assert a God-given right to cultivate the landscape and mark it as claimed, as explored in ecocritical theory; c) syntactical structures that infantilize native improvements and project English structures (or signs of ownership) onto the land. In combining the studies of travel writing's rhetoric and language's ability to bound space, this thesis will discern ways in which English colonists are able to claim the territory solely through their use of narrative.